Some of us spend many hours on social media, as we are connected on our smart phones and tablets giving us the ability to go online whenever and wherever we are. For some, it can be quite an addiction and a distraction from reality. We have to ask ourselves, what are we getting in return, and what are we losing?
Do we feel less lonely and do we feel the need to venture out to social events less often because we get our social fill online? Are we more connected to our friends and family… or the opposite?
With the presence of social media, we have evolved around how we communicate. When we are online, we are getting glimpses into our friends’, and family’s lives but the interaction lacks the same depth we have in one-on-one contact. If we believe that the majority of communication is done non-verbally, are we are losing our social skills and the ability to read others’ expressions and body language.
That fact that we now have emoticons available to convey emotion sums it up. Do emoticons really convey emotion or are they awkwardly overused? Is someone really “laughing out loud”?
Before I joined Facebook in 2006, I was so afraid to post any personal information or photos online, shop online or attach any personal information to my email account in fear of what the intrusion on my privacy could mean. At that time, most of my friends shared that same opinion.
Now, it seems we have done a 360-degree turn around and many of us are posting “selfies” and photos of our loved ones, photos of everything we do and eat on a daily basis. Now, it is not too difficult to find out where we are as we “check in” to our favorite restaurant. I recently stopped myself from “checking in” at the Toronto airport and posting my vacation photos during that week, as it would tell everyone “hey we are not home, our house is empty all week”. I think we still need to be conscious of what information we are making available online but with the ability to post, share and “check in” that point can be forgotten.
With access to information instantaneously and the vast outreach social media provides, you cannot ignore its benefits, however, there is a need for balance to help preserve our social skills and privacy. As they say, “Everything in moderation”.