Is Social Media Really Anti-Social?
This question has been raised so many times, but have you really ever stopped to think about it? I’ve given this plenty of thought lately, and given the amount of exploration and personal experience with social media, I must say the jury is still out as to whether social media is indeed causing us to be anti-social.
While I do acknowledge that my perspectives are purely personal and based mainly on observation, I’m leaning towards a belief that social media does not incline us to create a social bubble around our lives and experiences. Here’s why I’m coming to this belief based on my back-story which is stacked with 22 years of computer experience. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the internet unfold, social media develop and raised two children who are completely unaffected by it all.
Let me expound on the last sentence. My kids were raised in a home where I used technology daily and nightly too. I have to admit, I was thoroughly obsessed with it. I was newly 40 when I decided to finish my education by attaining both my undergrad and graduate degrees. During that time, computing was coming into its own with nearly every lab and classroom focused on developing computer skills. I remember sitting in the computer lab until 3 AM some evenings. I had to be obsessed! I had no choice if I wanted to do well.
I was exposed to various levels of classes that allowed me to develop my skills with coursework consisting of media graphics, website development and coding, teaching technology, and various multi-media classes. Remember, social media was in its infancy if barely noticeable at all. No one walked around with their cell phones looking down at Facebook or Twitter. It just didn’t exist. I completed my graduate work in 2002 and Facebook was created in 2004 and Twitter in 2006.
Both my kids watched me spend endless hours on a computer and their interest in computing was almost non-existent. Today, both my kids do not have a social media presence and couldn’t care less about it. Mind you, they are in their 30’s. What’s that you say? Yes, they live their lives not giving a hoot about social media. Of course, they use computers but for practical reasons which consist of research, checking out various websites, and education. I’ve also noted that their close circle of friends
I would like to think I’m a pretty social person, and I enjoy socializing both on and off the net. I’m not obsessed with social media by any stretch of the imagination. Please remember this is my experience based on my observations and research. I will agree with one glaring fact I noticed about Facebook. (At times, I’m pretty immersed in using social media because I blog, and it’s important I reach as many social butterflies as possible to spread the word about my blog.)
Facebook does impact many of its users in what can be perceived as in a negative way because people tend to benchmark themselves against what they are seeing others post. There’s been a lot in the press about this topic. I used to be guilty of this myself when suddenly I found my timeline cluttered with images of other people’s fantastic lives, family, and travel escapades.
I couldn’t help but think, why isn’t my life as fabulous as theirs? Then, reality set it. I thought, well, it really is this is my life and it’s just different! I started to become very grateful for what I have, and for my family, and our moments that weren’t captured for posting.
Suddenly, it all made sense to me, and I stopped the benchmarking. These moments we see are but seconds out of a person’s life. It only takes a few seconds to snap a picture or vlog an experience to be shared or remembered. Did you ever stop to think that maybe people like to capture the good moments because unfortunately at times there are so many bad ones?
I’m not blind to the fact that there are many folks who are obsessed with social media, or vlogging or taking pictures of their food to share with their friends. Heck, I do it! I think it’s important to remember that like everything else, moderation is key here.
It’s not healthy to obsess over anything with one caveat – I learned from experience that when we are learning something new, we tend to be a bit obsessive at first and then without us noticing, our obsession calms itself and we are then able to use what we’ve learned wisely, and integrate into our lives in a manageable way.
You can make an argument about our obsession with television. How many times were we warned about the dangers of watching too much TV? I don’t know a single soul who sits in front of the TV all day. Do you?
Nearly every article I’ve read lately features a piece on how social media is ruining our lives. I see loads of rappers, actors, and folks like you and I, creating videos about the dangers of social media. This I find ironic. They are using social media to warn us about social media. They state, taking the social out of social media is vital, yet the videos are a glaring contradiction of the ego. It’s all about them, isn’t it?
Rapper rapping about how damaging social-media is. Closing in on close to a million views.
Very dramatic video about anti-social media with over 46 million views!
If you check YouTube and search for anti-social media videos, you get About 260,000 results!
Maybe I’m biased because of my love for technology. Maybe I’m not young enough to get it. Maybe I’m smart enough to not get roped in by it. I think we shouldn’t make a huge deal over the potentially damaging effects of social media and how our lives are passing us by because we immerse ourselves in it and enjoy it.
I have faith that humans will filter through the nonsense, through the selfies and endless ego-driven tweets. They just need time to sort things out. It’s like mining for gold. You spend countless hours looking for the nuggets, then you take them, and move on and enjoy the riches.
What’s your take on social media? I’d love to hear your voices!
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