As I review the course material and our definitions of social media from our first discussion forum posts, there’s no denying the benefits social media provides. With 2.8 billion people now using social media, we are connected with friends and strangers in communities sharing news, ideas and opinions like never before. We have the choice of what we want to be connected to and social platforms’ constantly evolving algorithms use our data to get to know us better to continually offer a more personalised experience.
The marketer versus the mom in me
As a marketer, I can appreciate that the business potential with social media is huge. Our ability to engage in communities with our customers, listening to and learning more about our audiences to better meet their needs ultimately helps drive the bottom line. But as a mom, while I watch our two teenagers constantly attached to their phones and social networks, and, by default, detached from the people in the room with them, I have to question if this is a good thing. And with our nine year old itching to get a phone of her own so she can get on Snapchat like her brothers, I’m even more concerned.
And it’s not just kids today
I have to acknowledge that this isn’t just a trend with “kids today”. I recently had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while to catch up. Her phone was on the table for the entire meal, her eyes diverting to it each time an alert popped on the screen. She knew which friend’s house her kids were going to, what projects needed her approval at work, and when the next sale was happening at Nordstrom. All good stuff, but nothing that needed her immediate attention.
Fear of missing out
In reflecting on this, I wondered about the negative impact social media has on our social skills. A quick look on Google turned up reams of articles on the topic. This CNBC article references a recent survey that found 54 percent of millennials experience fear of missing out (FOMO) when not checking social media, with 76 percent of women and 54 percent of men admitting to checking at least 10 times when out with friends. The article also cites a Virginia Tech University report which found that the extent to which our phones divert us from face-to-face interactions actually undermines “the character and depth of these connections.”
All hope is not lost
As I sifted through more links, I was encouraged to find several articles pointing to the many benefits of a social media vacation – a self-imposed hiatus for a specified period of time. Hopefully this is a trend that will catch on.
Have you found yourself in the situation of competing with the phone of a friend, colleague or family member? Share your views on social media making us less social.
Is social media making us less social? #FOMO http://bit.ly/2yzVjDy
Can social media actually do more harm than good to your social interactions? Find out why and how you can avoid it. http://bit.ly/2yzVjDy