Monday, January 10, 2011

In Praise of Secret Gardens

2916556178_993931d487 We all need our private places.

A secret garden on a summer day for quiet meditation.

A quiet armchair to retreat to with a cozy book with the cell phone turned off.

These are the places where we refresh and reflect.

Even in the midst of social interaction, we crave private conversations. A whispered hallway conversation with a colleague away from the bustle of the water cooler. An after work cocktail with a few key friends.

I have a friend who would always disappear at a big party. Invariably, you’d find him off in the garage or up in the attic having a private party within the party.

In these days of Social Media, many of us live increasingly in the public eye. We’ve broken down the silos and torn down the walled gardens.

But now we’re all awfully exposed.

What I write here can be viewed by anyone. What I say on Twitter can be viewed by anyone. What I update on my Facebook status can be viewed by lots of people (not anyone – I have designated my FB friends and set my privacy settings, but 300 people isn’t really a private place, is it? And I don’t bother with the selective status updates, although I could.)

I love Social Media. I’ve connected and learned more through these tools than I ever dreamed of…

But…it has it’s drawbacks.

If you’re big into Social Media you may have started feeling SocialMediaFatigue (it’s a new syndrome I’ve invented, nickname SoMeFat). But there’s a cure.

Sometimes you just need to turn it OFF for awhile. But for me, that’s practically impossible. I like being connected. I like talking to my friends.

As in the real world. we need our private places within Social Media. A place to let your Social Media hair down and hide from the public eye.

So I say, go off and find your own Secret Garden. A place within the hustle and the bustle where you can have group chats with your friends who are located all around the country or the world.

Facebook has private groups (you can even make ‘em secret so nobody knows you’re there…shhh….) It’s like having a private party within the big party.

Facebook isn’t the only tool that gives us this a private room, but it sure is ubiquitous and easy to use.

Go find your own. Make it special. Make it secret. Find some relief.

(And then be sure and come back and join the rest of the party!)

Photo credit: The Secret Bower by Athena’s Pix


jay said...

Cammy, your post resonates with me.

I'm better at advising others on this than taking my own advice, but I'm been pondering how our culture seems a bit out of whack. Too little time for isolation, reflection, going solo; too much focus on contact, immediacy, joining the crowd.

Remember, you can always cut off the machine.


Cammy Bean said...

The machine is us.

bschlenker said...

Cammy, you're a peach! Perhaps the new trend for a new decade is going to be micro-social. Creating those private, secret gardens, where deeper connections, and trust can be built. And maybe they will be fluid: coming and going as needed in each our lives. Maybe there isn't anything new about this. Perhaps this is just the digital version of the Moose Lodge, or VFW.
As for SoMeFat, well I think we all suffer from it from time to time. I'm not one that jumps to quickly to turn off my social interactions, but dialing down social from macro to micro is refreshing.

Cammy Bean said...

Ahh, Brent. Well, you're a daisy!

I think SoMeFat is really just general burnout. Probably not even that particular to Social Media -- it's just a larger symptom of too much to do all of the time.

I think social will get more micro. It's human nature to cluster with our families and tribes.

As SoMe has gained wider acceptance the tribe of the "public sphere" has gotten way more macro than it was when we all started. There is comfort in the micro...

tammy said...

I like the idea of secret gardens...

Patricia said...

I'd love to have a secret garden that looks like the one in the picture. It's beautiful. My sister sent me this blog post and I'm glad I read it. I, too, need to hide out and not be so "out there" and connected all the time to FB and the internet. I have to learn to "turn it off". And I have to re-connect with people either face-to-face or in those private groups on FB that you pointed out. I don't know about them but I'm going to look into it.
Thank you.