There’s so much that can be said about social media that it would probably warrant a book and not just a slew of articles as have already been written in both opinionated and scholarly manners. But in the spirit of things I thought I’d lend my voice and see if anyone wanted to hear it since hey, that’s one of the main points of social media right? It’s connected people on a level that we’ve never known before and is only getting bigger and bigger and a little more invasive as well as integrated into society every passing year. Or is it every passing month? It’s hard to tell when you were raised in the 80’s and 90’s since the idea of social media hadn’t quite come around yet. Does anyone remember when phones were still those big grey bricks that had batteries larger than the phones we have now? Or how about the fact that you couldn’t walk around with a mini-computer that could make phone calls in your pocket? Yes, those days are long gone, but what’s replaced them has its upsides and its downsides and everything in between.
So let’s just see what we can see shall we?
The good part is that social media can help us to connect to and keep in touch with a large number of people.
Think about it, back in the day you might have had a small number of friends that you really kept in touch with and a limited amount of contacts that was stuffed away in your Rolodex or whatever you used to keep them updated and secure. Nowadays all you need is your phone and the ability to get on the internet. Choosing a social media platform is kind of tricky if you’re particular about who sees your information, but overall the chance to reconnect with old classmates, friends, or just stay in touch with family if you happen to live that far away is amazing. Where a person used to rely on written letters and phone calls for correspondence, now we can connect in a matter of seconds and be talking to someone we haven’t seen in years. There is a definite upside to social media, and it’s the fact that we can gain access to those people we want to keep in our lives.
The bad part is that social media has at times taken over the actual act of being social.
You’ve likely seen this once or twice, and believe it or not it’s just younger people that do it. A group of friends sitting at a table, all of them with their devices out, and all of them grinning and laughing with each other….over their texts, chats, and IM’s. They’re all talking to each other, but the act of depending on your device to help you interact with your friend is simply creepy and it denotes that you’re not entirely comfortable with talking to others. That might not be the case a lot of times but it definitely shows a dependence on social media that is anything but healthy. What’s funny is those that are addicted to social media, yes it is possible, would allude that they can converse just fine with anyone they want, they just choose not to. Feel free to roll your eyes.
What’s truly irritating is that people have forgotten what it means to be people.
Remember when talking to someone meant using your mouth instead of your thumbs as you type in one witty, touching, or scathing remark after another? Interacting face to face meant you had a chance to be yourself and let the other person see the real you. Now however a person can get on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform and pretend to be whatever they want. They can make up a profile that allows them to seem like the coolest person in the world, and they can even create a following based on whatever lies they want to tell. But get them in public and you might find out that while they’re great at fabricating a role they’re horrible at talking to people in real life, or IRL as it’s seen so often in text form.
It would be great to pinpoint when all this happened, but that wouldn’t turn back the clock and convince people that sitting or standing face to face is that much better. Social media, for all it’s faults and its advantages, is here to stay, and lest I sound like a hypocrite you’ve got to take the good with the bad and ignore whatever you don’t like in the hopes that it might eventually go away.