(image source, perhydrol/DeviantArt)
As I started writing this first blog post, then stopped, then started again, I realized that there are so many ways social media has given the average person a voice. From connecting with an old friend from kindergarten, to having a twitter conversation with a celebrity, we’ve managed to use social media to shrink our world and simultaneously create a disconnect in our society.
I’ve had friends come and go in my life, but my social media friends are forever. Or are they? I was on Facebook one day when I got a friend request from someone I went to grade school with many, many years ago. I was so excited that we connected and we messaged back and forth for awhile, catching up on the last few decades. However it seemed as though as quickly as we connected and caught up, we lost that connection again. Not too long after that I was unfriended. At the time I thought “How rude! Who does that?” Then I realized that, as much as it allowed us to reconnect, so many years had passed and the likelihood of us meeting again in person was very slim. Maintaining the connection would have been too much like work. I could have been anyone, telling her the best of my world (even making it up) while she was doing the same to me. The question is, why bother reaching out to make the connection in the first place?
I came across an article which indicates that social media is the most common way to keep in touch with friends (and family) in today’s world, with two-thirds using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms as their main means of communication. People are using it to be part of a group and feel connected. Not that we needed research to point that out! Any conversation you’ve had with anyone likely turns into some kind of social media discussion. I have family and friends in my networks that I would have not kept in touch with otherwise.
This article says that it’s easier to keep in touch with people in our lives through social media than going out of our way to call them or meet in person. What would we talk about if we did? Some people’s whole lives are there for you to see so you don’t even need to ask questions. Well, the parts they want you to see anyway. I feel like I could write a biography based on the information that I see in my feeds. Does this make me feel connected to them? Not really.
By not taking the time to get to know someone personally, in real life, we’re losing our ability to make strong connections with others. This social disconnect is creating a world that is like watching a movie, distorting our reality.
What is your perception of how social media has caused a disconnect in today’s society?