Today I had some thoughts on this new ‘buzz word’ that everyone seems to have embraced as the preferred method of communication; “Social Media”…
Technically, Social media is defined as the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. As with most things, it has far surpassed the original intent and has now become “the norm” for the way we communicate with others but not without unintended consequences.
Some argue that the use of social media is a beneficial tool, allowing us to be become more connected than we ever were by allowing us to reach a much greater audience. Others argue that social media allows those to build social lives where it is hard to build them in the real world. While these arguments can certainly be true, the fact of the matter is that social media does not replace real world interaction and while it is of benefit to have connections with dozens of people at once, this tool often becomes a replacement for real world interaction. What has been seen is that social media simply does not produce the same levels of psychological “well being” as real world interactions have, which is why “direct” interaction is still so important. Emotionally, however, the very quality of our ability to be satisfied is diminished with the use of social media and lack of real world interaction, which in turn can have harmful effects on how we develop socially. It is possible to have a sort of balance between real and digital social connections, but these online connections HAVE to be used to enhance, not replace, which has unfortunately not been the case. People would rather text message someone before talking to someone face to face, and that says something about who we have become as a society. We prefer to be interacting with a computer screen or mobile device than interact with each other directly and there is something vastly wrong with this way of thinking.
It’s Newton’s 3rd Law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.