Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Has Social Media Made Us Disconnected?


I read a post last month on someone’s opinion on whether or not Social Media had made us disconnected, if I can find it I’ll link it here. Since then it’s popped into my head several times over the month and I thought I’d share my opinions. Now the OP had a both many for and againsts for her argument and I think I do too, but my overall opinion is that it has not.

Social Media has made us more connected.

News Updates

While you can argue that scrolling through Twitter while on public transport to work is antisocial, personally, I don’t see it that way. I wouldn’t talk to the person sat next to me if we had no internet connection anyway. Introverts like me don’t like talking to strangers, so removing social media from the equation won’t make any difference.

In actual fact, that scroll through Twitter in the mornings (while I don’t do it on the bus) actually gives me content to talk to my colleagues about during that day. “Hey, did you see so and so happened in the US overnight?” Therefore, making me more social, and more connected to my colleagues when otherwise I may not have a topic to bring up.

I’ve learned so much about current events with the help of social media and friends on social media. I knew so much about last month’s election because of social media. I actually had to get one of my internet friends to explain what ‘left and right parties’ meant because I didn’t understand and didn’t want to admit that to most people. But I trusted him not to judge.

International Connection

I’m from England, I still talk to a few people I knew when I lived there plus my family and I’ve made many ‘internet friends’ through social media too. Of course, you can send letters but social media just makes all of this so much easier. Why wait for a week or two for a letter when you can send a quick email, or spend all morning IM’ing each other. This is always a big point people make when discussing this topic and I truly think it’s a big one.

While Skyping and IM’ing aren't the same as catching up in a cafĂ© over a coffee and hugging each other if your family and friends aren’t an easy drive away this isn’t possible so you have to take what you can get.

 

Real vs Fake

I’ve written an entire blog post about this real vs fake idea of social media which you can read here, but I’ll quickly sum up some major points of it. For every image or message posted on social media, there’s an equally less photogenic or dramatic message deemed not worthy of sharing. While you may be seeing a beautiful image of a clean white desk, you don’t realise the bed behind the desk is now piled high with magazines, scribbled on notebooks, and pens.

So, while you may be connecting with the perfect image of your internet friend, it’s hard to talk every day for years without letting some of that perfect wall fall down. I confessed to one of my friends the other day that they should never be worried I was catfishing because frankly, I could never keep up with all the details needed to pull that off. I’d end up tripping up at some point calling myself Sophie instead of the perfect Angelina or whatever persona I was trying to fake.

Truthfully though, the best people on the internet are the honest ones. The ones that have beautiful Instagram feeds but also post on Twitter about their sweat stains after accidentally wearing a grey top on a hot day.

Shutting Off

Obviously, you also need to know when to switch off. Being connected all the time is draining and can cause a negative effect to all the positives we get from it. Shutting off when you need is all part of the game. When you’re having a meal out with family or friends, get a quick snap of your meal and then put away the phone. Connect with your friends and then go home and post the photo reconnecting with the people you were out with previously. Or when watching a movie, instead of live tweeting the entire thing put away the phone and take in what you’re watching. Don’t miss important minor details because you’re tweeting about how #buff the main actor is, update your feed after the movie with a glorious image you have the time to find on google.

So, I may have gone off on some small tangents there but the gist is; I personally don’t feel that social media has made us disconnected. At least I don’t think it’s made me disconnected but quite the opposite. What do you think? 

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