Seen – a word now crushingly associated with an accompanied time and date. Sounds like a crime scene, doesn’t it? An embedded white outline surrounding the message you’ve sent to someone, forever lost in a cyber world with no idea as to what killed the conversation.
Rationally, you want to reach for the reason of forgetfulness, “They got waylaid, that’s all. I’m sure they’ll get back to me when they can.” Or, the other reassuring alternative, “They probably thought they already replied but the message just didn’t send.” And don’t get me wrong, living in this modern world can be pretty hectic! It’s pretty easy to miss the odd text or email when an inundation of notifications covers your phone’s main screen on a daily basis. So, these passing thoughts could well be the case. But, sometimes, it’s something else.
Once you’ve run out of all comforting excuses and the action (or lack thereof) of the recipient comes with an unfollow or unfriend, the weight of your heart is sent plummeting to the depths of your stomach; a crash of sadness rendered the only thing left to wave through you. And when that happens, every other feeling that was good washes away with it.
Ironically, it’s these little things that make a big impact. Like a tsunami, which starts as a small ripple, can become a fearsome tidal wave once it reaches the shore, causing merciless destruction on a colossal scale. What we see as small ripples – the simple click of a button, the apathetic view to a reply – can ultimately destroy the coast of the mind.
Of course, the blame cannot fully be put on social media, for our online and offline presences are two very different things. I, myself, am reluctant to live my life glued to a phone. And although I do post a fair amount, when it comes to messages, I often miss them. As well as this, my world outside the realms of the internet is often occupied by life’s regular (and sometimes, irregular) occurrences. So, for those who are out there waiting for me, wondering if I care, I hope that you know I do. I like to live in the real world, so if you ever want to hang out, let me know and we’ll make a plan. And know that when I see you in person, we’re going to have the best time together. There’s not much heart in pressing buttons on a tiny screen. I’d rather hear your laugh than see it as acronymic jargon.
However, if you are a person who can identify with the ‘seen’ notion, whether that is online or off, think about this for a minute. None of us knows what goes on inside the minds of another. All we can do in this world is be respectful of those around us. If you haven’t the time or the energy, that’s okay, just get back when you can. But, if you do, and you can, then don’t just turn a blind eye. Just like the ripple can destroy the shore, the peak of the sun at daybreak can cast away shadows on a darkened field.
You may not always see all the good you do, but trust me, someone else out there will be thanking you for it.