Anti-Social Media – Didn’t see this coming or did we?

More and more research is being conducted to analyze the effect of social media activities on society. I am not sure it is worth all the money being poured into it, since as soon as Facebook became the mainstream way of 40 somethings to communicate with their long lost high school acquaintances, people started to see the possible side effects.

To me, it is pretty apparent that when a group of teenagers is hanging out together and each one is looking down at their mobile devices tapping away, that they are certainly not engaged emotionally with the people standing next to them. Social media is a kind of force field that insulates them from scary interpersonal contact. The people standing next to them can see what they are wearing, how many pimples are on their face and how inept they are at conversation. However, the people on the other end of their social media updates see them as so cool for being out with all their friends. They are obviously wearing the coolest outfit, like the one they were wearing two days ago when they updated their profile picture. The virtual friends are easier to communicate with than the people before them. Of course the other part of this equation is, if you are not tapping on your phone instead of talking with your present friends then you must be pretty unpopular and who wants to hang out with anyone who doesn’t have a virtual circle?

Chad Pollitt did a mini study recently when he was away from his computer and physically involved in face to face contact with some of his actual social contacts, the soldiers in his reserve unit. As I too was once in the National Guard, I can imagine that his social media networking time was very limited. Of course when I was in I didn’t have a smart phone, a facebook, twitter or linked in account, so I can’t totally image what it is like now. But in order for Chad to keep up his Klout score he would have had to forego the camaraderie shared only two weeks a year with this group. Now is that really social behavior?

It has been my experience that the more “real” a person is the more I like them. I am pretty sure that a lot of people are that way. Well, I think it is funny that social media tends to take the “real” out of being social. I have a feeling that I am not the only work at home Mom that doesn’t arrive at my home office in a business suit. But if you read the tweets, posts or updates of most of us and look at our smartly taken photos you may think just the opposite. When I first got on Facebook, I was new to the stay at home Mom thing. I had a 1 year old and a new baby, and I rarely felt very together. But my friends were continuously sending updates about how great their lives were and all the great places they were going and how wonderful everything is. I read this article by Libby Copeland that reminded of that time in my life. I actually have not posted very much on my Facebook wall because I choose not to compete. I am sure it has something to do with my self-esteem, but whatever…

It’s no secret, social media is being abused all over the place, by all kinds of people. I am a believer that everything in moderation can be good. Social media is not different. But truly good, strong, healthy relationships start with honest communication. Hopefully more people will learn this quickly, or suffer the fate of being de-friended. That is so final, isn’t it?

Please comment below, where do you feel social media is headed?


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