Is Social Media a Replacement for the Traditional Book Club?

25 July 2014

Social Media and the Internet have changed the way we interact with each other forever. Social media allows people to build and maintain relationships all over the globe. It is true that it increases socialization but for all its glory, a vital piece of the human element is still missing. That is the actual interaction of the physical human body.

Yes social media is great, and it allows us to meet new people and share our status updates, funny videos, pictures and other things, but it lack the real interpersonal contact with meeting people face to face. You can learn many things using the Internet but it is not a replacement for actually gathering with people.

A great way to enrich human relationships is a traditional book club. While it is okay to discuss a chosen book online via social media, actually sitting down in a room and talking over that same book fosters a deeper connection that the digital revolution simply can not deliver. When you are actually talking to live person that you can touch, you can engage all of your senses in the discussion. You can feel what they are saying by the vibrations of their voice, the movements of their body, what their eyes are focusing on as they talk and other significant things that make human contact so vital.

While it is okay to socialize online, static pictures, videos, podcasts and even webinars will not transfer the shift in energy that is needed to advance society. You may have a lot of friends who are affiliated with you through social media, but unless you get up from your computer and go meet these people, you are still alone. Also, can you count on those type of friends to help you in a jam? If not, how valuable are these friendships?

Book clubs and live events not only encourage contact, they also help groups form and develop around common goals and values. Participants are able to toss around ideas and opinions and even share food and drink while being involved in discussions that elevate the mind and bring awareness to the group as a whole. To date, there is not one social media platform that does this.

Social media is not a bad thing. Although it does have its limitations, there are some creative uses for it too. It is simply a tool to be used, and if utilized correctly, it can supplement some of the mundane tasks needed to accomplish an organization’s goals. For instance, book clubs can use it to make announcements that inform the club members of important updates or discussion topics. Social media can save time in the fact that a person can email 20 people with this kind of information faster than they can be called on a phone.

So let us not think the digital revolution is a replacement for genuine human contact. It is not. While it is easy to get locked in and addicted to social media, it is far much better for human beings to physically be around other human beings. It is scientifically proven. The value of human interaction is immeasurable and while social media can make you look larger than life, there is just something special that happens when you can see a real person and hear them say something as simple as “Hello.”

Carlton L. Lewis

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