You don’t know me. I don’t know you. We’ve never met and probably never will. This is all folly. All of it. Let’s just go back to making friends the old fashioned way – at the golf course, at work and anywhere we happen to physically interact with other people. Enough with this digital networking stuff. Bah!

Right. And rock and roll was a passing fad.

Who would have thought that metal, plastic and glass could contain a human heartbeat? Or millions of them? No one, that’s who. Certainly not my mother who, bless her heart, will likely go to her grave believing that the Internet is filled with deceit, debauchery and is the den of the devil himself.

We know differently. The digital age has made it virtually seamless to connect with people whom you’d never have the opportunity otherwise. People who might live in your town – or on the other side of the planet. We’re connecting to each other faster than ever, and at the core of each of these human collisions is the idea of authenticity. Once you get past the awkwardness of opening up in social media, the world becomes open to you. Say something about Catcher in the Rye on Twitter, and you’re likely going to be followed/engaged by people who were so moved by Salinger’s novel that they named their first born son Holden. And these people might just live in Sumatra. Social media makes it possible for people anywhere to connect based on our common, or uncommon, interests. But it all starts with putting down the sparring gloves and opening up. Being you. Because if you’re not yourself, then you’re someone else. And you will never reap the full benefit of this amazing medium because all of your relationships will be based in deception.

I’m not saying you have to strip down to your bare skin here. No one really cares what you had for breakfast, unless you’re connected with people who also are watching their weight and who might give you encouragement for eating right. Or not. The point is to be honest – say what you truly feel. Engage openly and without discretion. Transparency is cool. That’s because it’s something our mothers have told us all our lives – always tell the truth and be kind to others.

Even if your mother doesn’t quite understand that her advice is as relevant today in the digital age as it was back when when we had three channels and an antenna on the roof. Thanks Mom.


Jim Mitchem

Sink Into Me - Song of the Week
When I grow up I want to work in advertising

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.