It is easy to float in and out of people’s lives with social media and texting. We don’t have to meet face to face to reconnect nor do we have to confront difficult situations. With the ease of finding a new date through dating apps and the ease of cutting someone out of our lives without replying to a text, there is no need for eloquent endings.
Adding another layer to this, we can now easily view other people’s lives and what they’re doing through Snapchat and Instagram stories. It is a real-time update, more so than a normal photo or status change on social media, and on top of that, since it disappears in 24 hours, people tend to be a little more daring and authentic with what they are showing. Stories enable people to reconnect by getting a peek into others’ “real time” lives.
“What was Sally doing today?” Grace asked. “Did you talk to her?” “Oh, she went skiing. I didn’t reach out; I just saw that on her story,” Alex replied.
This leads to what we now call orbiting. Orbiting is when you’ve fallen off the tracks with a potential lover. They no longer reply to your texts. You no longer talk, but they still follow you on social media (for some reason), and they are always viewing all of your Snapchat or Instagram stories.
You could send them a text, and it would remain unanswered, maybe even unopened. Yet, they view your stories on social media, and they even sometimes like your posts. Talk about a mind f*ck.
Social media is opening up a new level of communication and connectedness but also a new level of ambiguity.
So when does it stop? We all have a role to play, and in between all of our speediness, we have to slow down and remember that on the other side of the screen is a human, and that human deserves, at the very least, respect.