Everyone watched as the young man’s fishing pole bent towards the water. He moved from one side of the peer to the other, following whatever was caught on his hook with just enough tension to wear whatever-it-was out without breaking the line. That’s the sport of it, I guess, the art of knowing how hard to reel and when.
The young man finally pulled the fish on to the dock, it was large and golden and the fisherman called it “red.” The crowed was impressed, everyone pulled out their iPhones and started taking pictures. A few even held the fish up, intending to post the picture to Facebook and impress all their friends. Everyone seemed enamored, everyone was documenting.
But to the side, just free of the crowd, was another fisherman. He was old and Asian and wore a big bamboo hat. He was struggling with his line too, fighting something in the water. I looked over the edge of the dock and saw a small shark fighting the line.
Eventually the line broke. I thought it was ludicrous for an old man to try to pull a shark out of the water with a fishing pole, and I think the old man knew it too. The whole thing, the fight between the old man and the shark, was easily the most interesting moment of my vacation to the Gulf.
And no one saw it. Everyone was still Tweeting about the golden-red fish.
I think that’s my problem with social media or, rather, how social media is used. Social media should be a supplement to how we communicate, not a replacement for it.
It was extremely difficult for me to disconnect from the Internet while on vacation, especially because most of the beach had WiFi access. But I did my best to unplug and enjoy swimming and playing with my nieces and being with my family. Even then, checking my social media accounts was a nightly habit.
I admit, I am a social media hound. It’s what I do for a living. I bought a Tuxedo this weekend at a thrift store and, just after trying it on, thought to myself this will be a hilarious tweet. I even checked Facebook twice while writing this update. That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?
But I think that we often over use social media. It’s new, it’s a major shift in communication, but it’s not a replacement for real life. Well, it shouldn’t be, at least. There are things that don’t need to be tweeted or Instagram’d, things that only need to be enjoyed. Life is full of moments that don’t require the validation of a LIKE.
I’m going to go stand in the sun now.