by Matt Mattson
I spend too much time on social media. I'm guessing you might be like me in that regard. When the world is full of so much that needs fixing, and so much opportunity, the time I spend on social media feels so incredibly unproductive. I'm guessing you might share that feeling. But here we are.
Marshall McLuhan once wrote, "The medium is the message." He taught us that the way we consume information is often more influential than the information itself. As we continue to consume the world through the individual, lonely, self-consumed medium of social media, we can't help but become more individual, lonely, and self-consumed.
We have to fight this. Not by quitting social media (though I consider it daily). But by balancing it with social connection in the real world.
America needs each of us to choose to get together offline. Seriously. This is a problem. Plenty of scholars and authors are bemoaning the negative effects on our very society being caused by our precipitous drop in organizations. See here, here, and here as just a few powerful examples.
Let's re-ORGANIZE America. We've become too separated, too distant, too individual. Our basic societal organizational structure is crumbling. And I think it's, at least in part, due to the way we consume the world -- alone, from computer screens, with minimal discourse with others.
This is a call for re-organization. For re-grouping. For gathering together in real life. Go to a local meeting of something that matters to you. Go to a local religious service. Organize a group in your neighborhood about... anything. Get together for fun. Get together for work. Get together for dinner. Get together for politics. Get together for sports. Get together for justice. Just get together.
We can't create the world we want alone. We have to work together. In person. When we gather, we matter. But the way we gather matters too. There is a vast chasm between gathering in a comments section and gathering in someone's living room.