As I shared a few days ago, friend and award-winning connected educator, Deven Black was violently murdered in a homeless shelter. Many of those who knew Deven at the height of his career, just a few short years ago, tried to make sense of what had happened. Some felt guilty because they hadn’t reached out to Deven with a call or an invitation to meet. As one person said, “I think this highlights the power of social media to bring people together, but also its power to make us think that we're helping when we really aren't.” Another put it this way, “"We posted kind words to a social media profile and assumed that was enough."
Some people conveyed that they were connected to Deven through their online conversations though they never got to meet him. Some called him an online friend who they never got to know in real life. Some warned of the dangers when we let the the lines of online life and real life blur.
We need to take a step back from the notion that online communication is interaction in a world that is not real or is somehow less valuable than face-to-face life. This impulse to dismiss social media as less than other communication is detrimental. It leads to a false belief that if only we had selected a different medium in which to communicate, there would have been a different outcome. I'm not so sure.