The internet is not a place
But that's where everyone goes
An emoji is not emotion
But it's easier I suppose
A pic is not a visit
A selfie's not a mirror
A text is not a letter
A phone is not an ear
A video is not a face
A 'like' won't bring you here
So come and sit right next to me
It's better when you're near

-B.C. Byron
So close to each other, and yet so far away

A donut can never give your body the vitamins, protein, and fiber that it needs to feel energetic and perform at your best. If you try to put protein and fiber into a donut, it stops being a donut. Trust me, health food companies have ruined many desserts attempting this. A sweet treat quickly becomes a health-craze wannabe donut that tastes like sadness. If you try putting donuts in your salad, it ceases to be a salad. The donut gets soggy and falls apart, making a bready lettuce stew. The point of a donut is not to be healthy, it’s to taste good and give us a sugary boost of quick energy. We all know that donuts can’t do what vegetables do for us.

So what do donuts have to do with connecting with other people? Really, really connecting with other people takes work, like choking down a huge kale and spinach salad before you can have dessert. Anything that takes work has the potential for huge rewards, but there’s a junk food version of everything. The junk food version of connecting with other humans is called social media and texting. It’s much easier than eating vegetables or walking over to your friend’s house, putting your phones away, then listening and thinking of things to say. Conversation takes practice and can be tricky. Social media or texting an emoji feels like a delicious and filling donut meal, leaving us hungry for something more 5 minutes later. Talking with screens also doesn’t carry the risk of awkward silences, disagreements, or embarrassment. People can’t see your emotions through a screen and you can easily walk away when the conversation goes in a direction you find boring. But those risks are what make true relationships possible.

I use social media myself and it has its good points (it’s okay to follow bcbyronpoetry on Instagram), but it will never be able to provide the deep personal interaction of looking someone in the face, in the same room, listening to their story and watching body language. We have to put in the work and be near to show others that we care, that they are worth our time and really matter to us. Then we begin to matter even more to them. Keep your phone, send your emojis, email a selfie, read your favorite poet’s blog, just don’t be a glutton for social junk food. The world needs the real you in it more than ever. You can connect without a cord or wifi.

Published by B.C. Byron

I’m a children’s author, poet, father of 3 girls, and electrical engineer. My first book, A Cat Named Lump, is now available on Amazon. It’s not for everyone – just those with a good sense of humor who stand a bit outside the norm. I have so many odd poems to share with the world, so I started this blog. Here I’ll post some poems from my book and many yet unpublished ones. If you like my work, please show support by buying and rating my book.

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