Monday, 4 May 2015

My Problem with Social Media

For all the good that is intended - and achieved - by all the fancy apps and gadgets that accompany this digital age, it's reached the point of becoming pretty dangerous for me. And I don't mean like stranger danger (although as a wannabe blogger and real parent, that is valid, unfortunately). These are some of my problems with it:

1. It's addictive. While I have not posted on here in almost a month, not a day has gone by without me using my iPad and phone. Numerous times. All through the day and night. And I don't even think I'm that bad - when my phone died suddenly and unexpectedly before Sam was born, I happily went phoneless for two weeks (of course, I did still have the internet on my desktop, but to be fair, my access was much more limited). Still, I know of people who sleep with their phones, document every minute of their lives, and would find it absolutely normal to play CandyCrush or Clash of the Clans while driving home from work.

2. It's not real. You can look at anyone's Facebook timeline, and I can pretty much guarantee that if not paying tribute to someone, or highlighting the plight of something else, there isn't anything negative on their wall. All you see are smiling faces of perfectly dolled up people at parties or on perpetual holidays, accompanied by pictures and statements of only loving relationships and perfect children. No one really lives like that, do they? Certainly I don't. And I realize that perhaps, like me, people don't want the negative splashed all over the world wide web. Still, it's becoming increasingly obvious that people are aspiring to this life on screen, and I just don't know that it's a realistic expectation at all.

3. It's seriously narcissistic. Andel often jokes that, "if no one's going to pull your chain, then you have to do it yourself". Social media has taken this to another level. Why do we think that every living breath needs to be documented in selfies and tweets? At times, the rate at which some people's status are updated leaves me wondering whether that's all they do all day. The truth is: we have become a pretty vain and egotistic bunch who measure our worth, and rely on affirmation, in the number of likes we get on our Instagram posts.

4. It's made us socially awkward. People are unable to communicate with each face to face anymore. Even the telephone is becoming redundant. We'll happily text, tweet, comment and like, but we find one-on-one interaction intimidating. We can't sit through meals or meetings with others without needing to check our phones or update our statuses. We can spend hours online but struggle through a family get-together. We've become weird, and the only reason no one is pointing us out for it, is because everyone else is on the same ride.

I don't know where this post came from (I was enjoying a perfectly normal afternoon with Sam), except that this problem is as much mine as it is anyone else's. I don't know how to fix it globally, but I know I have to fix it personally, because unless we are able to curb and correct this, we are going to remain self-absorbed, insecure, unproductive and delusional. And there's enough of that going around already.