This is the digital age where technology has brought us closer to each other than ever before. The only thing missing is a teleportation device, otherwise we have it all to be in touch with the ones who are closest to the heart. It began with letters, telegrams, telephone, mobile phone, emails, internet calls. social media networks to a full blown instant messaging online and offline with SMS, MMS, BBM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and finally apps like Skype. As much as I am glad to be connected to everyone every second of my life, I do miss the old means of communication like emails and letters that sparked an anticipation as you waited for a wordy reply from a friend to drop into the mailbox. We have now shifted from having pen pals to having creepy stalkers online or accepting requests from weirdos who fall in love with whatever display picture is on the profile. How things have changed these past few decades!
I’m going sound like a granny but back when I was a kid, my Mom would spend all her energy in getting me out of my bed and pushing me onto the street to mingle and get some fresh air. She said it was healthy (mentally & physically) to make some friends, play, share, and be social. I was a bookworm, hated anything that was close to the word cardio and was pretty much a cry baby ’cause I’d lose every game I played with friends. Sufficient to say that I was not really the social butterfly, and never planned to be. Somehow, after all these years, I see myself in the mirror as a changed person who’d rather socialize face to face than chat online or be cooped up stalking profiles.
The Social Media addiction
Studies show that social networking is more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes. Before you say anything, ask yourself if you take your phone to the loo – I rest my case. If you have watched the new Samsung Galaxy Edge advertisement, you’ll surmise that adults are also victims to checking updates from any newsfeed. As for teens and tweens, social media preys on their mental health causing anxiety every moment they spend away from the blue screen, and also while waiting for notifications to pop up on the screen. In fact adolescents are known to be online constantly throughout the day either texting their group of friends about their exaggerated funtastic lives in SMS lingo wasting their time and health.
As for adults, we have no time to work or meet friends & relatives, but we have all the time to keep scrolling on the newsfeed and stalking everyone we follow on the social media networks while at the office desk. Most of this just involves “What are they doing with their lives?” “Is my car bigger than her wagon?” “Oh, he’s bought a house and a car, and he’s getting married! I’m such a loser for not being able to fulfill even one of those goals and turning to music for a career!”
We are constantly in the cycle of comparison, devaluing ourselves, and being so emotionally invested in to the image we project all the time, that it almost feels like we are in a movie than living our personal lives. Furthermore, knowing how we watch everyone, and the same happens to us, paranoia breeds like flies.
Are you out of your mind?
We are supposed to protect our children from predators and cyberbullying. Hell! We should be aware of catfishing on the Internet and take precautions for it. Instead, Here we are the entire family with multiple gadgets connected to the Web, clicking on what might be a malicious software, adding strangers to the friend list because they gave you a life on a social media game, completely unaware that your account can be hacked, or you could be under great danger. What’s more foolish is to engage in online dating with someone who starts off a conversation saying “Hi, I like your DP!” because it feels good to be appreciated, while in real life if a stranger walked up to you with a line like that you’d run in the opposite direction. Since when has it become normal to date over Facebook and marry over Skype when you haven’t really met the person in real life? This in the age of divorces and restraining orders against mates who you’ve probably known your entire lives but still missed serious warning flags? How could you be stupid to send money to someone you have never met but fallen in love with so he’d not starve ’cause daddy cut him off, while he tells you a completely different story that he patched things with daddy and used the money to buy shoes? Seriously? Where are your brains people?
Everything is public
The need to impress blurs the lines of privacy and everything that we do goes up on Facebook. It’s not your diary, so don’t put up everything there. You might have nobody who listens to that crap, or thoughts that ring loud in your head, and it still doesn’t give you the excuse to voice them out ONLINE. Example? “John Doe is now on the pot doing Number 2 and it’s the best feeling ever!” “My marriage is a train wreck!” “I swear my baby can read my thoughts ’cause she just said meh!“
Let’s say you do make a lot of friends and in the online world you are a colorful person with thousands of people who you chat with everyday. Feet on the ground, a friendly reunion, five of you meetup at the local coffee house – Can you put your phones away and talk like you’ve known each other forever or would you just drop a few words here & there as you tap away on those blue screens spending your time together online for the rest of the hour?
Real social interactions have truly reduced thanks to the social media and their gaming apps. The senior women addicted to Candy Crush and similar games would rather sit next to each other at kitty parties and compete with each other on their tabs as they do while they are at home miles away from each other. It’s surprising to think they had a different goal and purpose before the Net drew them into this compulsive web. College students sit together in a room to have a good time but just spend their minutes in silence battling with their smartphones and laptops instead of having a word war.
This is a sad world we live in. Social media networks were introduced to enhance our way of life, but has made us more reclusive. So if you ask me, is social media really social. I’d say No. If anything, it makes us anti-social.
Disclaimer: This article has nothing to do with social media marketing but talks about personal use of social media.