"Dear Dana" by Amy Weinland Daughters

I discovered this book after one of my friends (Thank you, Melissa!) shared it on Facebook, and I've been recommending it ever since!  The phrase I've used most often when telling someone about this book is "life changing" because reading it made me think deeply about something that has bothered me for a very long time:  There is a significant disconnect and loss of  genuine human interaction in society today.  This loss/disconnect was brought about by social media, and it gets worse each and every day.  How ironic, huh?  A tool that is supposed to bring us closer is actually driving most of us further apart.   
Facebook alone generates so much toxicity and has driven millions into isolated little bubbles, feeling silent desperation and  a general sense of "I'm not good enough."  After the loss of my momma, I deactivated Facebook and stayed off of it for almost a year.  It completely changed everything for me!  I had grown addicted to constantly refreshing to check post "likes" and comments.   Since returning, I've deactivated every time I've felt the toxic nature rising up.   I think I've finally reached the point where I can be a "grown up" regarding interactions on Facebook.  I still don't have the app on my phone though, because I have no self control.  (LOL, but not really...it truly is an addiction!)
Main premise of the book: The author decides to write a physical "snail mail" letter to each of her Facebook friends, no matter how long it's been since she's seen them, or what role they've played in her "real"  life.   I love that it's a memoir, as memoirs and autobiographies are two of my favorite genres.   I'm not going to give too much away because I want people to READ this one!    Here are two of my favorite excerpts: 

"Number 547 was likely the oldest person I wrote a letter to. His paragraph on the evolution of communication, framed in a way that only someone who has lived each stage of adulthood can achieve, speaks to how technology, as much as it offers us almost limitless connections, can make us feel further away from each other. While anticipating a reply to a text we know someone has read or checking our phones to see who has liked our Facebook or Instagram post might not seem like a lonely act, the wait itself can leave us feeling isolated. It inherently makes us question ourselves. Why hasn’t my friend responded yet? Is anyone going to like my post?

 Additionally, we feel alone because regardless of how many responses we do ultimately receive or how quickly we get them, we remain isolated throughout the entire process of the “conversation.” One-on-one, “old school” communication, on the other hand, leaves no room for such doubts. The other person is right in front of us; we can touch them, see their facial reactions, watch their body movements. They are deliberately here for us, and we for them. We matter. They matter. Perhaps we’ve sacrificed reassurance and peace for convenience."  -Daughters, Amy Weinland. Dear Dana (pp. 267-268). She Writes Press. Kindle Edition.

While I was reading this book, a memory kept popping up in my mind.  When I was a little girl, my momma would often have coffee with her friends.  I remember the feeling of sitting on her lap with my head laying over her heart.   I can still smell her coffee breath and feel the rumble of her vocal vibrations under my cheek.   As a whole, I don't think we do this enough these days.   Time.  Actual time spent in the physical presence of our friends and family.  Not when we see them at work, or run into them in public...but actually spending TIME together!   I'm as guilty as the next person with this; heck, I rarely answer the phone anymore because I'd rather communicate via text. It's easier...less messy...less of a chance people will see deeply into what makes me tick.    This is NOT a good thing!

 If you want to read a book that will make you examine your own use of social media and how you navigate the relationships in your life, I highly recommend this one.   

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