Yes. It is true. Social media has become a part of our daily lives. Be it a source of information, an opportunity to promote your art, or to simply stay connected with family and friends that we don’t get to see in person on a daily basis. Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and the like can be helpful, but have you taken into account the effect that they are having on your real life social interactions?
Elders say that our generation is more disconnected than ever. While on the surface, this might be unreasonable, if you really think about it, they are probably right. If you asked most people about their communication habits these days, you would probably find that they were more inclined to text, email, or contact people via social networks…rather than calling, or speaking in person. Think about it. There are plenty of things that you can say in a text message or tweet that you would never allow yourself to say out loud or to someone’s face. It’s this false sense of courage that has lead to a phenomenon we now refer to as cyberbullying, and a breakdown in communication across our culture as a whole.
The last time I was out on an evening with the girls, I was taken aback when instead of asking for my number, a guy, in an attempt to “get with me”, asked me to follow him on Twitter and add him on Facebook. Is this a sign of the times, or just a random occurrence. My money is on the former.
Recent studies have suggested that with the uprising in social media, women are willing to sleep with men sooner, because they are constantly connected to the guys they’re dating thanks in part to Facebook friendships and Twitter follows. The simulated connection has increased the speed and progression of relationships. Is that really what we want? I am I the only one who gets annoyed when people click the “Like” button on people’s relationship status? Or when couples “subtweet” or argue with each other on Twitter? I’ve never been the girl who tells her business to everyone so, social media’s impact on interpersonal relationships has been nothing less than troubling for me.
For the last few weeks I’ve been hanging out with someone who doesn’t have an active Twitter or Facebook account. At first, it took a little bit of getting used to, because those networks have become my main vehicle for communication. As time has progressed though, I’ve found the experience to be refreshing. It’s forced me to get to know him, and really let him get to know me. To be careful about what I say, and to really put some thought into my responses. How many times have you spoken with someone online, and really liked their personality, only to find out when you met them in person that they are NOTHING like the way they portray themselves on the internet. It’s like rain on your parade. That is the exact reason why we should take a little time to REALLY get to know someone…rather than scanning their profile.
In more simple times, before smart phones, wi-fi, and texting, people really had to talk to each other. I’m of the opinion that you can’t really get to know a person until you spend time with them, observe their mannerisms, and truly listen to what they have to say. It may be more time consuming, but I guarantee it will be more rewarding.
What do you think? Have you ever fallen victim to the social network swindle? Talk to me.