The (Anti)social Media

In high school, my mom uniquely endorsed phone use, but only when I was using it to contact friends. She always valued human interaction and saw texting as an important way to form relationships. However, when it came to social media, she constantly condemned the countless hours I spent browsing the pictures of my acquaintances and learning about their latest vacation to the Bahamas or super delicious 3-scoops of ice cream that they ate after attending a Yankee game.

A typical afternoon at the Ardiff household consisted of this every hour:

“Kaitlin, get off of Facebook.”

“No, mom, I’m just texting.”

“No, you’re not. You’re on Facebook. Live in the present.”

“Live in the present” was always her mantra. Avoid dwelling on these old photos and instead focus on creating new memories. It was a great life lesson that took me a few years to learn, but something that I’ll always remember. Unfortunately, my teenage self was too caught up in knowing what everyone was doing and always denied my addiction to stalking on social media. But think about it: if we took the amount of minutes spent staring at someone’s pictures online and stared at the same person, but through a window, it’d be pretty darn creepy. So why is it that watching through a screen is so much more acceptable than in real life?

stalking gif

An accurate representation of me stalking my 1000 closest Faceboook friends, about every 5 minutes as I procrastinate writing this.

Unfortunately, the irony of social media is that it causes us to be antisocial. People post to show others that they’re fun, cool, and most importantly, way happier than you. Just scroll through your Snapchat and Instagram feed on game day. Everyone posts Snapchats of them beginning the tailgate at 10AM all the way to the post-game tailgate. Did you also happen to make pancakes with maroon and gold M&Ms? Did you also get overly excited at a cheeseburger cooked on a Mod grill? Did you and your roommates all pose for a group photo at a tailgate, covered in face stickers? Sadly, so did 300 of your closest friends. Everyone’s doing the same thing, and we post it in an effort to prove that we’re just as fun; in reality the fun comes from partaking in the events rather than posting about them. The fact is that we’re all too concerned with our appearance instead of how we engage with each other. And we’re in the need of a little revolution.

I, too, am a victim of the obnoxious Game Day snapstory.

Luckily, many organizations have capitalized on our dependence on appearance to promote their brands. Brands like Wendy’s and Casper are known for having an entertaining Twitter presence. Aerie contacts teens on Instagram and Snapchat to post pictures that promote their clothing. An active social media presence is vital for a business’s survival. Since society can no longer wait for a phone call, email response, or the 30 minutes that it takes to drive to the nearest mall, we expect company information in real time.

phone die gif.gif

Businesses are shaping how we communicate and engage with each other. If Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel never existed, just image the horror of having to actually walk across the hallway to talk to a friend instead of being able to Snapchat them. If Instagram’s multiple attempts at copying Snapchat have proven one thing: it’s that social media is definitely here to stay. Only time will tell which human interaction that we take for granted will disappear into yet another digital convenience.

In our age of hiding behind phone screens, I’m incredibly excited to see how this class unfolds. I took this class because I had asked seniors what their favorite class was and multiple seniors all recommended this course as one of their favorites at BC. Blogging is something that I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve never been able to force myself to sit down and make it happen. As I continue to blog, I hope to push myself to really dive into issues that are transforming our lives today. It’s crazy to think that in 20 years something like blogging may already be obsolete. As I conclude this post, I can only think of how many Facebook photos and Instagram pictures I’ll scroll through tonight. Here’s to a great semester of trying to navigate the ever-changing world of digital business, and hopefully less obnoxious Game Day snapstories.

6 comments

  1. Kaitlin,

    I too wrote a blog regarding some of the negatives/fears revolving around social media use and consumption. I found your parallel between social media in real time being assumed the same when it comes to business information. It’s almost like you are describing the digital maturation they are going through in order to maintain relevant amongst their consumers. Great post!

  2. I’m honored that this class garnered a favorable recommendation from seniors. I’m not sure it’s true that social media relationships are not “real” relationships, but they are different relationships. Much like mingling in a bar. If that’s all you do, you are going to have a pretty dysfunctional social life. Nevertheless, getting out and developing those types of relationships occasionally is helpful. It’s all in the amount.

  3. I couldn’t relate more to the constant nagging of parents and the “live in the present” conversations that constantly plague my household. I have always agreed with what my parents are saying – but at some level the present these days is actually in the social media platforms. If you remove yourself from them completely… than you are almost removing yourself from the present…Either I have watched the movie Inception too many times or maybe this thought has some merit ha

  4. Finding time to “be in the present” is something that I took away from my time at 48Hours as a freshman and I agree that it can be difficult. Like Taylor commented, sometimes living in the present does include living through social media platforms, but the question then becomes, where do we draw the line? Finding a balance between online use and in-person contact is definitely a difficult concept, but one that can drastically change one’s perception of their own and others’ social lives.

  5. I think your distinction between texting being “real” interaction and social being more distant and superficial is really interesting. I think it comes, as you said, from the intention behind the interaction. If texting is personal and isn’t broadcast to the world, there’s less pressure to portray our lives as “fun and cool.”

  6. I have totally had similar interactions with my parents around social media and technology in general. The instant gratification of social media can be super addicting and trying to strike a balance between using social media effectively and too much can be a lot. I talked about this in my blog a little too about how compelling the idea of using social media effectively is – definitely something to keep on top of in the coming semester

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