“Social media brings us together and tears us apart at the same time.” Not in the way people often suggest. I know you’ve heard people rush to the obvious. You know, like how others would rather give their attention to their screens instead of people. They talk about how social media makes people anti-social; but does it? In reality, social media is not making us antisocial or isolating us.
The Internet and social media often get a bad rap. The impact of these in our lives is undeniable. Every new technology changes how we live and interact with each other. Chances are, you got to this blog post because a friend recommended it on social media. Or, you saw a link somewhere.
Our social media feeds are where we find out (some of) what is going on in the world, and in our friends’ lives. Sometimes we’re exposed to their front or posturing, but that’s for another post.
Social media has impacted how we share information. It has changed how we relate to each other, forever. It obliterates the time and geographic divides. In an instant, I can share an experience – live and in real-time – with someone thousands of kilometres away, in a different time zone. Neat.
In another realm, in our everyday, day-to-day lives, we can lose sight of the world and people around us. Our attention arrested by the glow of the devices we hold in our hands. Like zombies, we double tap and scroll. Sometimes we do this at the expense of those sitting right next to us. Somehow those physically and metaphorically close to us can fade into obscurity.
Social media is not making us antisocial or isolating us. People exclude other people and people are antisocial. If it isn’t a cat video on YouTube, it will be a newspaper. If it isn’t a meme on Facebook it will be sports IRL (in real life) or on TV.
People have always appropriated technology. It is people who determine whether the tools they have will make their lives and relationships better or worse. Social media is not making us antisocial or isolating us.
We get to choose how we use social media. Will we use it in a way that helps relationships or damages? Will we use it to remind people that they matter and we love them? Or, will we use it as a weapon, tearing away at the fabric or our relationships and celebration of other?
What do you think? Has the internet and social media made your life better or worse?