The potato chips of relationships: Social Media

I spoke with Talia Ricci of Global News on the effects of social media and they posted the piece on their website today…Millenials (those born after 1984 or s0) essentially have used social media all of their adult lives.  Those born before 1984 can remember a time when:

  • we went to the video store to rent a movie and had to return it 2 days later
  • we went out for coffee with a friend locally because there was no Facetime to visit someone across the world
  • while we waited for that friend, we would people watch because there was no phone to check Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram. That people watching allowed for aimless thoughts, where we might ponder that conversation with a boss or a colleague earlier in the day.
  • while we waited at the table while the friend went to the bathroom, we might think on something the friend said that is troubling.  As ideas and thoughts and feelings bounced around inside, we often found ourselves able to shed new light in the conversation. We couldn’t spend the time checking messages while they were gone.
  • after the coffee, we might walk home in the quiet (or with a walkman playing a cassette we had mixed and listened to 100 times already) and have our thoughts meander back over the conversation.  We would have the “dust settle” as we just spent time noticing our own reactions to the conversation.  Along the way, we might meet a neighbor walking the dog and stop to chat for a few minutes.

    Selfie picture of Shannon Cuciz from Global Television and CArolyn Klassen from Conexus Counselling.
    Too good to pass up–a selfie on a page about social media! The double chin pose is a clear sign I don’t know how to take a proper selfie! 🙂

Isn’t it crazy how much social media has infused our lives…and taken away us from casual chatter, face to face communication, and an opportunities to listen and be still with our own thoughts?

Talia called me because she had read a previous blog post that I wrote on selfies. She wanted to talk about the impact of social media on our lives.

This morning I talked to Shannon Cuciz about the piece on the morning show.

While we were talking, I likened social media being the junk food of relationships.

I told Shannon that we are hardwired for connection…we need relationships like we need food. Relationships are absolutely essential to life.

But like food, we can make choices.  And the choices aren’t always easy.  But those choices do have a direct impact on our health.

Eating a big bowl of potato chips when you’re hungry will fill you right up.  And let’s face it.  Those chips will be delicious.  The crunchy texture is addictive, and the salty flavour is so tasty.

But after that big bowl of crunchy taters is done, it’s gonna feel sorta heavy in your belly. And you’ll probably feel kinda gross. And you’ll often feel a little guilty because you know that they just don’t give any nutritional value.

Social media does the same thing. It’s easy and fun and delicious to the mind. But at the end of the day, it’s not half as nutritious for our soul as hanging out with a person in the flesh. One conversation at a time. About our regular lives, not just the highlights. Sharing stories authentically with one person rather than editing it carefully for the public.

Belonging.  Laughing. Being. Caring. Reciprocal. Engaging.

Picture of potato chips to INstagram sign with person leaning against it, as well as a picture of a salad with two figures engaing.
Seeking meaningful connection and life giving engagement through social media is a little like trying to get nutrition from a bowl of potato chips!


Relationships with the friend/spouse/relative immediately across from us is like the leafy-green-vegetable-equivalent for our souls.

For the record, I love potato chips.

Matter of fact, had a few all dressed Ruffles with my sandwich for lunch today.  No plans to give up on potato chips.

But neither do I want them to be a staple in my diet.


Update: Brett, Greg and I chatted about this on 680CJOB on February 23:

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