We spend so much of our lives just trying to make a connection. Sometimes its the video connection from one device to another, other times its that connection between you and a potential life partner, and still yet other times its just connecting in understanding of what is going on around us.
So WHY do we seek to connect so much in our life?
Periodically I go through fits of connecting or disconnecting different services via twitter, facebook, here on the blog, flickr, etc... I also go through fits of connecting with friends online homes, celeb online homes, and general interest. But Why?
Something in social networks, for example, leads us to connect with as much and as many people and things in our lives' as we can. Wether it be seeing that high number or just the comfort of being surrounded with quick access to the people that matter in your life. In my case, it has been a great way for me to not isolate so much. It has provided me a safe and comfortable way to interact with so many people all at once, from different walks of life all over in a way where I can be me, truly me, and not deal with the anxiety of the face to face stuff that I struggle with.
Some might call this a handicapping, but think of it this way, if there weren't these outlets and connections, I would be virtually totally alone. Isolated beyond belief. And what kind of life would that be?
Sure its not the same as so many other people who go out with friends and who enjoy the random meeting of new people without knowing them. But its what works for me for right now at this point in my life. And its safe, as long as you are smart about it.
I have even had the fortune in life of getting to meet people from my online world of friends and contacts, and it has been a wonderful thing. It is funny though, even after years of interaction, and sharing stories - emotions - experiences, the thoughts of meeting some of these wonderful people face to face still kicks the nervous meeter into over drive.
I get hyper self conscious, and frankly terrified at times. Not for all the normal reasons that everyone else would, but just because of my own insecurities and sometimes stunning lack of self confidence. And in those instances I either get quiet OR I ramble on. Either way I usually feel very awkward and nervous and am pretty sure that comes through - which is not the impression I wish to make.
So why then do I still seek to connect with people, new people online, and familiar people in the real world?
As a species we are designed to be social. Our drive to find someone to spend our lives with is evidence of that. The manner with which we have embraced social networking with such gusto is further proof. And the ability to connect all of our web presences into easy to manage single locations to share as much of ourselves with as many other people as we can is more proof still yet. We are meant to share ourselves with the world around us, not bottle up the energy within.
With so many things in life we seek validation. Wether it be that our feelings about a TV show are valid and we seek others who feel the same way, or if we share our love with someone and desire to be validated in that shared moment with a return of affection in equal and greater amounts. It can be something so little that we seek to validate by discussing with total strangers, the weather for example. Or the great moments in life when we share public declarations of love and fidelity in front of the people who matter most in our lives.
It fills a need to know that we are not alone, that we are on a journey, a common journey, through life and to the destination that we don't yet fully understand.
We also seek out connections for comfort. The comfort of those who understand us and who will share in our life experiences.
For me the various mediums of social networking have become quiet the hub of activity in my life. I have friends in this realm that I have known for years now - who I look forward to talking to and sharing life experiences with.
But I have never met them once in my life. Not face to face.
And with the ability to interconnect so many things it makes it easier and more comforting to be able to share an ever growing and more accurate picture of our selves outside of the physical to the world.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many pictures is a thousand words worth if you can paint the image of your personality, desires, hopes, dreams, likes, and dislikes in just 140 characters at a time?
Connection: "the act of connecting : the state of being connected: as a : causal or logical relation or sequence<the connection between two ideas> b (1) : contextual relation or association <in this connection the word has a different meaning> (2) : relationship in fact <wanted in connection with a robbery> c : a relation of personal intimacy (as of family ties) d : coherence, continuity"
Connection is the completion of a signal, of an energy sent. Like in a circuit where you connect one to the next to transfer energy, you can transfer your impressions and life energy between the people in your world. It's so abstract and concrete at the same time. And is just one of the many facets of our human condition.
So then why do we connect? To complete the flow of life between us to the people around us and to those who matter most. It sustains and builds us in ways we may never realize or appreciate, and certainly will rarely understand. Connection comforts us in our knowledge that we are not alone, and that we are able to link one thing to the next with understanding.
We seek to understand the mysteries and things that we as a species do not yet know. We apply religious meanings to the mysterious, and we connect to the spiritual that we don't understand but believe and know. It comforts us to understand, if only just from our point of view.
We connect to share the energy of life and keep the flow going, because without the flow of energy we are not truly alive.