To be (social) ? or not to be (social) ?
the first one is a social boy who likes parties and aristocratic life-style; the second character is an anti-social boy who doesn’t mind the outlook, doesn’t like a crowd of friends and prefers the “leave me alone” style.
It is still on YouTube and you may like to listen to it.
Since then the “social boy” has overwhelmed the other and spread so far into the society that nowadays everyone would feel offended if labelled as “antisocial“…
In fact the social awareness has developed immensely and generated extremely positive effects:
more solidarity -see the response of people when an earthquake or a disaster hits a community or individuals-; more generosity to support one other -see the success of fundraising campaigns against serious illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases, multiple sclerosis-; more volunteering work in every social area; more awareness that we live in the same village, we sail the same ship, we all have to surf the waves of life, we all share the challenge of destiny. There is somehow more of the element that the French revolution called “Fraternity“. This is the great progress of the society in the last decades.
It wasn’t the same in the Fifties or Sixties when people -in the attempt to escape from the misery of the war- were understandably engaged in a stressing race to a new welfare that surely took a very “selfish” quality.
Times are luckily changing and the language with them: the negative, disliked adjective “selfish” finds a new life almost in the variation of “selfie” !
“Selfie” is well accepted, it causes a smile for it is a sort of joke, it is a good fun and -if you connect your friends via Instagram for instance- you can even share selfies in real time: so, milled by a social network, you may be social even when you are “selfie”! What a powerful wonder!
We are all moving toward being social and the hamletic-like dilemma of wether to be social or not is overtaken by the more actual question: how to be social?
Technology has a huge impact on how we socialise, share, relate to one other, even how we deal with our privacy. The gigantic expansion -or intrusion- of technology in our daily life is the most impressive phenomenon of our time entrusting human relations into mobile devices and radio-waves.
Is this good? is this bad? Let me say that it is a fact.
Last month Facebook reached 1.5 billion accounts! GooglePlus follows at 1 billion… you may also socialise and share on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Linkedin, Tumblr, YouTube, Skype, Vimeo and many, many other networks and options….
About a quarter of the world population is on social networks: how more social are we now with all our devices in hand? Difficult to say. It is a phenomenon of our time and we need to get to know it going through its core.
Social networks are free, all committed to allow us to be social and friend ! this is surely a good intention… so, we have more opportunities to be social, to connect each other, to work together at long distances: this is the most amazing feature of our civilisation!
The puzzling aspect of a certain use of technology is not that sometimes we connect from miles away, but when other times we connect from a few inches apart… Let me show some pictures to visualise what I mean.
A bit of common sense please: how can you look into a little screen instead of the eyes of your girl/boy-friend sitting beside??? and there are many circumstances when such a “awkward” behaviour occurs. It is honestly awkward when the passenger on the front seat uses his smartphone to speak with the passenger on the rear seat! (example taken from real life, believe me….).
I think that here awareness and sociality are fading away, thus making the use of the social networks and hi-tech quite close to a non-social behaviour. On the other hand it seems that people like it; so there must be something enjoyable in there, even if it might be hard for elderly people to understand what is…
Awareness is a key point in social dynamics. May I take the example of another inspiring song, “The Streets of London” by Ralph McTell: the lyrics of this song make clear that the rate of sociality is not matter of how many parties you may attend, how many friends you may have in your list, how many appointments you may squeeze in a day…. you might have all of those and still be selfish… still feel lonely…. being social is truly matter of opened eyes, of awaken senses. If awareness fades away, you may pass by anyone -a friend or unknown person- without even noticing whether that person is ill or well, sad or happy, cheering up or dyeing….
“How can you tell me you are lonely / and say for you that the sun don’t shine”…. If you do hold the “old man kicking up the paper with his worn out shoes” or the “old girl dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags”, if you do hold them into your soul, then you may discover that you are “social” even when you are alone. If you don’t allow this, then you may feel selfish or lonely, even when you live in a crowd or give a penny to a poor or walk through the streets of your city, being unaware of the social context… being social is really a riddle!
Let’s look now at being social from another prospect and let me show you another way of socialising or becoming friend. May I support again what I mean with images taken from my Active English Learning courses:
You may notice that my non-subliminal message is really selfish: I am promoting my courses and inviting you to be social and friend in my AEL community because AEL is a community of real people although geographically distant from one other
In the same time -while being selfish- I am telling you the truth: here in AEL you experience the real life with joy and struggles, with enthusiastic adventures and homesick moments, with likes and dislikes, with breathing in and breathing out. Here you walk a step in your personal growth, in gaining self-confidence, in feeding your social awareness and personal responsibility, developing as independent, free person, in being yourself: not as you should be but as you are! This is what the Active English Learning project is about: active English learning… and more!
Do you want to learn more? Please do contact me on the phone, via email, on the website, on Facebook, on Google+ and on YouTube (in the future also on Twitter, Instagram and more… maybe): this is a good use of technology, then one day we may meet for real!
Enjoy being social! but also do reckon when you are selfish (pardon: selfie)
2nd November 2020
19th February 2020
28th January 2020