In a society driven by social media, sometimes we tend to only display our emotions limited to what can fit in only 140 characters, a series of tiny little cartoon faces, or reconstructed photo’s floating around the internet to exemplify our “current mood.” I wanted to dig a little deeper and try and identify some key attributes within my everyday conversations to convince myself that society still has the capabilities of displaying emotion beyond what they say behind a keyboard.
Everyday for a week, I decided to try and become more intuitive with people’s emotions within my everyday interactions by asking this question: “How does that make you feel?” Such a simple question yet sometimes so difficult to answer. I wanted to decide for myself if there really was a difference in the way people display emotion through social media and through real life. This is what happened.
In the household
We all know that common topics of conversation that arise over dinner often include a recap of your day. Through these simple conversations within my household I posed the “how does that make you feel?” question and received little to no reaction whatsoever. The response I received included one word answers such as “tired”, “good” and “stressed.” This made me realize that when we deal with routine, we are more likely to not feel as much emotion towards it because it is such a familiar space, including both the scenario and the people we are explaining it to. We don’t feel the need to elaborate or channel it elsewhere.
Which leads me to my next case…
Amongst friends and co-workers
Over the last year, I’ve overcome a lot of changes in my life including graduation, a new job and different life adjustments. I’m always keeping busy outside my 9-5, including working more than one job and making time to hang out with my friends. Because of this, I have created and maintained many meaningful relationships. Amongst my peers, it seems that many of them are starting new life chapters as well. In these instances, I learned that millennials still needs to communicate emotion face-to-face amongst people they trust and not always give away their feelings on social media. Whether we were discussing a personal problem, work place adjustment or an everyday worry, having someone to talk to about it is the best thing, and you can pick-up on the raw emotion right away. There is no misinterpretation, no misleading tones of voice, just exactly how you are feeling. This allows you to find someone to relate to and you can guarantee that you have been heard, and it seems that millennials still appreciate that. For the most part…
Since text messaging has grown significantly over the years (the growth includes: no more pushing the keypad 3 times to get to the letter “R”, or paying .75 cents per message), I figured that it has also become a key form of communication. So I decided why not pose that question via text and see what type of response I would get…but, they never replied. I didn’t take it personal.
At the end of the day…
I hope that you will take away some valuable messages from this experiment, and realize that social media is a powerful tool, but at the end of the day you can still put some time aside to talk about it over coffee. It will probably be more fun that way anyway, and who knows who you might run into.