"I was feeling a disconnect between my desire to keep in touch and connect with others and my use of social media or messaging apps. In person, I am looking someone in the eye, putting my hand on their arm, listening fully and being heard fully. I would post but the likes felt meaningless. When my impulse to connect is transactional, the feedback is just as hollow. Like 4 like. I "like" but the click neither reflects how I feel about what I see, nor my heartfelt appreciation for the existence of my friends. Then there's the peanut gallery of lurkers and critics, and the spectre of professionalism, all bearing down on an otherwise intimate interaction of sharing and having someone share with you.

I used to be an avid letter writer. I remembered the thrill when one came in the mail. When I wrote, I would sit at my desk and think of one person who I missed, and pack an envelope up with anecdotes and drawings I hoped would entertain -- and ship it off without expectation of response. It's like sending a present in the mail, but without the commodity in the stream of commerce or the pressure of giving/receiving a dollar value. Even better, there is no amorphous third viewer. The experience is a blissful one on one. I returned to letter writing and found it to be an escape from the simulacrum of connection on the plane of social media...

Fei Liu
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Connections