With dating apps and social connection apps, such as MeetUp, popping up all over cyberspace today, it can be tempting to connect with others online. Some like to send direct messages through Instagram or Twitter and the Facebook messenger app continually evolves each day. With all of that being said, it can be enticing to try and reconnect with past classmates or old roommates online. However, this puts friendships and relationships in an odd predicament.
There is an adage that some say viewing others’ posts online is the “modern-day equivalent of looking into your neighbor’s yard.” Users with a public Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Tumblr pages know all too well that just about anyone with wi-fi connectivity can take a peek into another person’s life.
And, if a person with a public Twitter page wants to block another user, then all that user has to do is type in the person’s Twitter url into a web page and they can see all of the posts. Essentially this means that the block button on Twitter is virtually useless for those with public pages.
With so many ways of finding others’ online personas, the question of intent comes into play. At first, it may seem great to connect with long-lost relatives or reconnect with that boy you ate lunch with at middle school. On the other hand, there is a reason as to why these folks are no longer in your life. Everyone out there has lost touch with someone whom they thought they would always see. However, life has a funny way of pulling us in all sorts of directions.
In a time before social media, it was nearly impossible to catch up with old colleagues unless you had their address or phone number. Now all those classmates are a click away and it can be tempting to reach out. At the same time, years have passed by. If you were never really close with a person or lost touch with them, then all of that happened for a reason. It is much healthier to let people go and continue forward in life.
Overall, while folks from your past are now more accessible to reach out to, it does not mean that you should. Social media is unhealthy in the sense that it has a way of making people feel as though they are closer to others than they really are. It is important to step back and not look over “suggested friends,” because even if that profile image is familiar, life may have separated two people for a reason.
It is not always necessary to send a direct message because it can be painful if a message is read and not responded to. Instead of following old classmates, try finding inspirational profiles or following leaders who inspire you. Take a step back from the smartphone and ingratiate yourself in a new hobby. Push the pause button and take a break from the technology. Not every message has to be sent.