Thursday, June 2, 2011

Antisocial Media

A couple of weeks ago my wife wrote a blog post all about the Twitter Machine and all of its shortcomings.  This only hammered home the point that I didn’t need that particular piece of social media to better my life.  But it also made me start to wonder just how “social” social media really is.

I know that things like Facebook and Twitter (Machine) have pushed us further along in this information age.  I love that my iPhone and computer can keep me in touch with people that live across the country or around the world.  They also allow me access to more information than I’ll ever know what to do with.  But is this really a good thing?

I notice people walking down the street or in social settings with their noses buried in their cell phones.  Texting away as if it is a meaningful “conversation” or checking in on Four Square or Facebook as if anyone actually cares that they’re at Starbucks for the 47th times this week.  People tweet thoughts and feelings that they wouldn’t share with a sibling, yet they broadcast it to the internets to see if it might gain them a few more followers because they are being so “real.”  People want you to go to their "farm" while completely avoiding visitors and the outdoors.  Scrabble boards and spending time with people while playing it has been replaced by its digital counterpart and chatting in text form.  Online gaming allows us to kill someone we’ve never even seen in person.  It seems to me that the more accessible social media is the more anti-social we are becoming.

There are people that actually don’t know how to write unless it is in textspeak.  We so rarely have casual conversation because we can avoid pretty much any contact with another human being.  We don’t even have to speak on the phone anymore because a text can do the same job without taking up all of your time.  The phone has actually done more damage to verbal interaction because of all the bells and whistles that come with it.  We’ve become more “friendly” with total strangers than ever before, but it oftentimes doesn’t translate to opening up with family and actual friends.

I know that it is very ironical to be calling out social media in a blog, and I’m well aware that there are people out there that will read this and disregard it.  It is sort of like those “Get out of the house and play” commercials that constantly play during children’s television.  Sure you want that kid to leave the house and play and stop watching your mind-numbing shows.  Just like I want you to stop relying on social media except for my blog and maybe a few of the other blogs I read.  Don’t throw out the message just because where you’re reading it.

1 comment:

erin said...

I agree in principle that we too often ignore the people in front of us in order to communicate with those who are on the other side of a computer or phone. However I can thank social media for connecting me to people who live too far to meet up with and for allowing me to continue relationships with people who may otherwise have been forgotten. What is important is that we teach our future generations that face to face interaction is valuable and must come before the screen.