Whether it is being open about sexual orientation or how their day went, Jacob Nordby wonders if social media actually open doors for guys which they would otherwise not have?
I wonder if Social Media might be doing something for young men that has always seemed impossible—help them open up emotionally? A recent article in The Atlantic suggests that is so. If so, it would be one of those unintended consequences of the rampant growth of technology and communication.
It would also be a very positive thing if this hypothesis proves out, don’t you agree? If these male creatures who are just entering the broader world full of testosterone have also been lured into a bit of vulnerability, it could affect a lot of things. Perhaps they could be in better touch with their own honest feelings and not have the need to channel energy into destructive expressions? Maybe they could find their career path more easily—one that matters to them—and establish better relationships earlier in their manhood.
Young men are tough nuts. I should know. I was once a young guy and I now father two of them. It isn’t easy to get behind their thickening masculine shield and make an emotional connection. I often wonder if I’m missing what is really important to them because they just can’t find a way to express their emotions. But I know that there is a lot going on behind that tangle of hair and the hat brim that covers their eyes. I know because I remember how it was for me.
My boys are in an especially critical time because their mother and I divorced this year. We both love these sons and do our best to co-parent in ways that will protect and allow them to emerge from our care as strong, whole young men. So this isn’t idle speculation on my part. I really want to know. I need to know.
Has social media, with its pervasive reach, actually given young men a way to let the guard down and say what is usually un-sayable from behind the relative safety of a video camera or keyboard which connects them to their friends and the world at large?
National Coming Out Day this year saw throngs of young men baring their souls in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.
Here is a video showing Troye Sivan coming out on YouTube this year:
Whether it is being open about sexual orientation or how their day went, does social media actually open doors for these guys which they would otherwise not have?
We can decry the isolation and sense of false-connection which Facebook and Youtube, et al. creates, but have we accidentally hit on something here? Maybe a classically reticent group of humans—young men—is finding its heart and voice in a surprising way.
What do you think? Please comment with what you have observed.
photo: dmjarvey / flickr