Is social media making us less social
Social Media Making Us Less Social? In a world where 850 million people are linked through a single website we feel more connected and social than ever before (Marino, “Is Social Media Making Us Socially Awkward”). Social media removes the need for people to physically talk and communicate to one another because we can connect with hundreds by the push of a button. From my own experiences, I see social media as a dark hole. We are all dragged into it and once we have started sharing, posting and reading through these social outlets, there is no escape.
It is an addiction and one which is having a etrimental affect on people’s social skills. Whether at at the dinner table or at the store, nearly every moment of our day we have access to social media. Social media actually makes people less social because social media ironically reduces the need and desire for face-to-face interaction.
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Now more than ever before people are busy communicating primarily through their electronic devices. Not only does this take away from our social skills but being on ones phone or computer is one of the most solitary things one can do.
Social media gives us the ability to catch up with an old riend while we ride the bus to class or look at pictures of our distant relatives wedding while we are eating dinner, however we loose sight of what is around us. In fact, according to a study from an article by Kristin Marino, American citizens spend an average of 21 minutes on Facebook each day (Marino, “Is Social Media Making Us Socially Awkward”). After a simple calculation, this amounts to approximately 128 hours or 5. 2 full days per year spent of Facebook. This number does not even include people who view Facebook through their mobile devices (Marino, “Is Social Media Making Us Socially Awkward”). Neither does the study include any other forms of social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Vine. The facts are shocking, and to imagine what all that time was spent on before Facebook is truly eye opening. More than five days are spent staring at a screen, looking and admiring or Judging the lives of our peers and acquaintances.
There is a convenience factor behind why we choose to connect mostly through social media, as we are able to respond on our own time. There seems to be an unwritten law of updating our social media that veryone abides by because we are so disconnected that the only way people know anything about us is through these social media sites. This is perhaps why we do not have as much face-to-face interaction because people are already aware of many events that occur in the lives of others and already know how they are doing or what they are up too.
Instead of going out with friends or enjoying the company of others, we fall back on social media sites. However, it is important to realize that the social networking sites are not to blame for this. We are. The more time we spend on these ites, the greater the illusion or idea that we are more connected becomes. According to an article by Brent Staples who has a doctorate in psychology, “Teenagers nowadays are both more connected to the world at large than ever, and more cut off from the social encounters that have historically prepared young people for the move into adulthood” (242).
A face-to-face interaction with someone is far different than a face to screen interaction. In communication we often use body language and visual the computer there are no visual cues and this makes way for confusion and misunderstanding. Social media allows for us to dissociate with the real world and put too much focus on crafting a new character in the virtual or social media world. We are able to create a specific personality for others to view and to use as a tool of judgment regarding the type of person we are.
The beauty of social media sites is that there is enormous power in determining what we want people to see and what we want to hide. Through social media we can remove the variables of everyday life and remove the at times embarrassing reality of society and portray an image that we think people will approve or be impressed by. Not only can it be exhausting to portray a specific attitude or personality and constantly feeling like you have to impress your friends, but also it takes away from the time you spend creating real life experiences with real people.
In fact, I believe that cell phones in a way can be viewed as a companion. It is never far away, and it entertains us when we are bored. The more time we spend Jumping from electronic devices the more our social skills are being stunted. In fact, according to a study by Developmental Psychology, “multitasking in the digital form through social media can leave todays children ocially incompetent” (Hussain, “Is Social Media Making Us Anti-Social”). Instead of riding bikes and playing outside, kids in todays society are also glued to the screens of smartphones and tablets.
By starting this addiction at such a young age, children do not learn normal social skills through everyday interactions with other children, which breeds a culture of isolationism and reduces the need for face-to-face interaction. One counter argument people may use against my stance is the belief that the amount of information and the connections we can make with people through social media allow us to be more social. However, I would argue that although we have more information, it is communicated through a cell phone or computer.
There is no personal face-to-face interaction that takes place when we read online. The inherent communication skills we all obtain through physical communication and interaction are deteriorating, and as social media evolves and becomes even more a part of our lives, our social skills will continue to fade. Face-to- face interactions are so important because there is so much more than Just words that are shared and communicated such as expression, and body language. Online, ll we have to interpret is the words they use.
One example that shows how we are actually becoming asocial due to the overwhelming use of social media is the fact that cell phones are hardly used for talking anymore. Talking on the phone altogether has become as ancient an idea as listening to a cassette tape and is viewed as a task or chore. Social media is certainly an excellent way to maintain contact with friends and family however, there is a medium to be found. The longer we ignore that over use of social media plays a part in chipping away at our social skills, the greater the onsequences become.
It truly is ironic how all of these social media and networking sites are designed to bring us closer and more connected than ever before however, they are actually partly to blame for why we are becoming more asocial. By constantly using social media, we are isolating ourselves to primarily connecting through the virtual world rather than in person and we are simply missing important life experiences that are not available in virtual form. Social media is now so easily and down this path in which we let the Internet control our life rather than us being in control.