How social is social media? Does not all media imply some social component that connects individuals on polar ends of the World Wide Web? Some people may argue that not all media is social, only outlets that offer direct connectivity between individuals may be deemed social. A key aspect of social media is that in implies shared communication, a reciprocal exchange of conversation between two or more people. The creation of the Internet amidst the ‘Cyber 90s’ sparked the foundation for innovations in online forums where individuals could connect, send aim messages, and held the privilege of sharing the same line of dial-up Internet as everyone in their household. Millennials particularly have grown up in a digitally savvy society from a young age, making them technologically more fluent than their parents.
We live in an a-synchronous society where messages, texts, tweets, posts, and statuses are all instantaneously delivered with immediacy. Advances in social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have become integral parts of our every day lives. We wake up every morning giving our smart phone programed alarms enough time so we may start our days by scrolling through every mode of social media. Yet how social has social media actually made us?
We find greater preference in texting than physical face-to-face contact. We walk around with our heads bonded to our smart phones so that we may avoid the real people around us. Though social media has enhanced communication methods across global landscapes, it has also altered the way individuals make themselves present in the real world. Nonetheless social media has taught me a few things about society in broad-spectrum:
- Presentation is everything
We are all guilty of it. We find ourselves editing our photos, buffing up our LinkedIn profiles, making sure to post news of recent job offers and internships. We innately crave validation as human beings, whether that validation be about our physical appearance, social status, or personal success. We want to appear we hold this perfect life because if others believe it, it becomes more realistic to ourselves.
- People are actually bad at listening
How often have you found yourself in deep conversation with a friend, only to realize their head has been glued to their Facebook newsfeed the entire time forcing you to repeat yourself? And I’m no hypocrite. I’ve been on both sides of that story. We subconsciously put more effort in exponentiating our connections than sustaining quality relationships with those we already know.
- Freedom of speech doesn’t come so lightly
Communication forums like Facebook and Twitter allow individuals to voice their opinions freely amongst their peers. Yet anything and everything can be perceived as offensive. Commonly you will scroll through Facebook and find a political or racially offensive status by some random peer in high school you never actually talked to. It sparks conflict and confrontation, which is naturally part of discourse. However this excess noise on social media strays people away from engaging in quality discussion to merely idle quarrelling.
- Fact is Fiction and Fiction is Fact
With so much clutter on the Internet it’s hard to decipher what is real and what is fake because anything these days can be altered to look factual. We heard it several times as kids, “Don’t believe everything you hear”. Well not it goes to show we can’t believe everything we see as well.
- Procrastination should be listed in WebMD
I almost envy the days where social media was non-existent, maybe then it would only take me an hour to finish a class assignment rather than five. It’s an actual illness, the compulsion to need to check every mode of social media in order to update ourselves on every 15 minutes of people’s lives because so much has probably happened in those 15 minutes. What did they eat for lunch? Where did they go last night? Did they post pictures? Who’s on the recent BC Senior Five? We’re inundated with an immense flow of information of the social lives of others we fail to acknowledge the information that actually matters in the moment. Write your paper.
- Privacy is extinct
Your 2 second snap chat is not extinct. It’s still there. Maybe not in a screenshot, but its out there in the mysterious realm of the Internet we still don’t fully understand. Along with everything we send on the Internet, there always remains an aspect of involuntary surveillance. Whether it be a ‘private’ message you send to a friend or an image you post on your ‘private’ Instagram. All things are shareable and traceable. Thus people should be consciously aware of the information they chose to share, as non-disclosure is non-existent amidst the online web.
This blog is not intended to be a cynical rant on why to despise social media or to disregard the fact online forums have not allowed us to affectively collaborate at quicker and greater measures. It’s simply a wake up call to this generation and every other to make themselves present in the physical world they preside in.