The problem with social media

All that glitters is not gold. 

This is a paragraph devoted to what “grinds my gears.” Picture this: you’re out with a friend or significant other and you notice that a couple sits down at the table next to you. Immediately, both take out their phones and find more interest in an inanimate bright screen than the person sitting across from them. It’s sad to witness, honestly. In reality, this scenario is a telltale sign of what’s to come or worse–what’s already here.

The human species has thrived through interaction. Oral history was necessary to create cultures and maintain lifestyles. We have evolved drastically, sure, but interpersonal relationships are still critical to society. I can’t imagine texting my Paw Paw Rufus. He gets frustrated when someone calls on a cell phone, for goodness sake. If I want to speak to him, I drive or walk to his house, sit down at his dining room table and have a face-to-face conversation. These are the memories I will carry with me forever, not the ones I post on Facebook because I’m bored.

I understand the importance of social media. My degree focuses specifically on strategies, research, establishment, etc. I learn each day about how companies use SoMe to influence audiences and encourage loyalty. I get excited when I learn about a newly released platform and want to create an account as soon as I can open another tab. I become consumed with books about word of mouth, crisis communication and how everything is now influenced by the average Joe through personal accounts.

Even with the infinite love I have for my personal accounts, I have tried purging the virtual reality of SoMe from my life on a few occasions. It becomes overwhelming to keep up with each platform and post interesting content that my connections actually care about. Facebook, Twitter and other accounts provide instant gratification through the amount of likes and retweets…but those numbers can’t hold a candle to a story Paw Paw Rufus tells me about when he was learning how to two-step.

What we need to do is take more time to talk to people, regardless of who they are. We need to talk to the person next to us at the doctor’s office or in class. We need to get back to the mentality of making someone’s day a little better by just asking how they are. If we’re only here for such a short amount of time, why don’t we use every spare moment to foster more positive relationships–in the real world?

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