27 Jul The Day the Bubble Burst
Once upon a time, in a town filled with wonderful people, there lived a boy who was the most wonderful – and his name was Ben.
Ben was known for his kindness and love for outdoor activities. He enjoyed playing in the park, riding his bike, and exploring the world around him. Ben had lots of friends, but he always had room for more. He found people fascinating and loved meeting and talking to them.
One day, while Ben was bouncing a ball in the playground, he noticed a girl walking down the street. What caught his attention was the huuuu-ge glass sphere surrounding her, like a body helmet. Intrigued, Ben approached her, knocked gently on the sphere and introduced himself.
“Hello there, I’m Ben. What’s your name?” he asked.
The girl looked at him awkwardly, her eyes avoiding his. “My name is Little Miss Social Media,” she replied quietly.
Ben wanted to shake hands with her but couldn’t due to the glass sphere. Perplexed, he asked her, “Why are you wearing this glass sphere?”
Little Miss Social Media hesitated before answering, “It just appeared one day. And it’s stayed. It makes me feel safe.”
Confused, Ben questioned her, “Safe from what? There’s no danger around here.”
She shrugged and replied, “Well, you never know what kind of people are out there where you are. Inside, I feel safe. I just connect with people through social media. I read the news, play games, look at photos and watch endless content here. All my friends are here, too.”
Ben couldn’t understand. “What do you mean your friends? What friends?”
“Oh, I have tons. And people love me. They make nice comments about me and like my stuff. They’re my BFFs, and there are thousands of them,” she replied enthusiastically. “They teach me a lot. I get all my facts from them. Sometimes they argue with each other and it gets a little uncomfy, but I don’t mind. In fact, mostly I don’t look away. Hard to.”
“So these friends – sure sounds like you have a lot of them.”, said Ben.
“Yes! Thousands and thousands and thousands!”, she replied.
Perplexed, Ben asked, “Did any of them come to your birthday party? When was the last time you saw them in person?”
Little Miss Social Media admitted, “I’ve never actually met them or heard their voices. We just chat online and make comments. But they always like my photos and observations. Oh, the likes I get!”
But if you’ve never even met them, how can they really know you?”, Ben asked, puzzled. “How can they be your best friends if u don’t hang out? It doesn’t sound real.”
Little Miss Social Media scoffed. “What do you know?!”
“I know that nothing beats real-life relationships.”, Ben responded. “I like to be outside play with friends, talk to them face-to-face, and sure, even argue sometimes. We usually make up. In person is the way I feel and understand the world because, well, I’m connected to the real people in it.”
“I’m fine with how I’m in touch with my friends,” replied Little Miss Social Media. “It’s quite the experience.”
“But what about Monopoly at a friend’s house. Eating lunch with someone or having a pool party?” Ben asked.
Little Miss Social Media looked at him skeptically. But deep down, his words had struck a chord. She realized she hadn’t ever experienced anything as real as what Ben had just described. (Or maybe she had but couldn’t remember.)
So right then and there she decided to give something new a try.
She let Ben take her to his home where he had a spare bike. They went on a ride together, talking and getting to know each other. Little Miss Social Media laughed and smiled as they joked around, and it didn’t take her more than 5 minutes to see there was more to life than the online world.
She felt the warmth and joy of doing things with a friend in person, even if she couldn’t feel the wind in her hair.
She hung out more with Ben and went to his friend’s BBQ in his back yard where she spoke to lots of kids like her. They were all interested in hearing about her glass sphere, too! She learned how to play Clue and Twister. She built LEGO. Together with them all, she played hide and seek and climbed trees in the woods.
Thanks to Ben and his friends’ companionship, Little Miss Social Media slowly broke free from her obsession with social media and learned to enjoy the wonders of the real world. She started to engage in meaningful discussions with friends and new acquaintances in person and had less arguments with people online whom she had never met. Most of her online ‘friends’, who had never added any meaning and depth to her life, she realized they were not worth her time. As she spent more time with Ben and his friends, Little Miss Social Media grew into a wonderfully happy person.
She decided to change her ways and find a healthy balance between the online world and the physical world. That, along with befriending the real people in it, was much more satisfying than living inside her glass helmet. Suddenly, she no longer felt the need to hide behind it so one day – just like that – she took it off!
And she loved it!
She got out more.
She met more people.
She played more, hiked more, danced more and traveled more.
And as she did, Little Miss Social Media grew more confident and fearless, unafraid to face the world head-on.
What’s more, Little Miss Social Media became so passionate about engaging with people in person and thriving on real-life interaction that she even changed her name to Little Miss Social.
Now how about that?