I have been pondering the meaning of ‘social’ especially as I have been struggling to keep up with social media messaging and posting of late. Being social in an electronic sense is a necessary evil (as far as I’m concerned) if you are in business and self-employed.
Being social – business or pleasure?
I have never particularly enjoyed social media platforms. I prefer getting off my butt and going out to physically meet people. However, unless you have a presence and react swiftly to communications via them, it can make or break a business. Is that truly being social, as so many business social media messages are automated, queued and hardly spur of the moment?
That aside and curiosity getting the better of me I looked up the term ‘social’. Did you know that is derives from 2 Latin words; socious – meaning friend and socialis – meaning allied? I suppose this does cover the connections we make via the various platforms however there are few people I have in mine that I would count as true friends or allies, most I don’t even know.
Curiosity carried me further.
Is being social a natural or manufactured phenomenon?
I have recently been made aware of the powerful natural hormone, Oxytocin. I knew about serotonin and dopamine, both feel good hormones, due to the treatments I’ve had for my PTSD, however Oxytocin was a new one on me.
It is also a neurotransmitter and regulates our social interaction (and, ok, any clever clogs out there, sexual reproduction too but that is not what I’m concentrating on in this article). It is another feel good hormone and we receive/facilitate it when we interact with one another and the more we get of it the better we feel. The prime example here is the enormous love a mother feels towards her child after birth – that is mainly because she is saturated with released Oxytocin. So, being social may be part of the body’s need for this hormone, so how does social media stack up in the hormone releasing stakes?
If you send a social media message a very, very small amount of Oxytocin is released and I’m talking minute, if any at all. An email message much the same though a telephone call is slightly better. But when you go out and physically meet and interact with other people, especially those close to you, the quantity shoots through the roof. Clearly, being social needs a lot more than electronic transmission.
I haven’t found any evidence of a manufactured Oxytocin pill being produced, (unless you are giving birth when they can give you some manufactured Oxytocin to help with labour).
My conclusion; I’d rather get my Oxytocin fix by carrying on getting out there to meet, greet and interact with people in the flesh. Social media platforms can slip down my list of priorities as I am honestly struggling to see the point or benefit of them in my life.
Who else will join me in becoming an Oxytocin Dealer? Now go out, enjoy being social and hug that co-worker!