By: Kaleah Walterman
Every time we go out to eat dinner, or meet someone at a coffee shop, almost always we see people on their phones instead of being engaged with other people in conversations. In my personal experience, I would be in the middle of a conversation with someone and the person I am having a conversation with whips out their phone to text another person. Or I’m eating dinner with my family and one of my family member’s has their phone out checking social media and is completely isolating themselves from the rest of the family. I am also guilty of being on my phone while being in a group conversation, and even though I’m surrounded by friends and family, I am completely isolated and alone in my own virtual world.
Constantly being on our phones and not engaging in conversations shows disrespect to the other person and the relationship suffers. The other day, I was at a restaurant and a couple was eating together. But the woman was looking at his phone the entire time while the man was focused on his food, and the woman was isolating herself from him. Or when students have their phones out during class checking texts and social media, they are isolating themselves from the teacher and what is being taught, therefore could suffer in school. In my symphony, a player will constantly be on their phone when they are not playing, isolating themselves from the music.
Having face-to-face conversations is very important to have in order for relationships to grow and flourish. It also teaches how to communicate effectively. Even though people are connected on social media, there is more that goes into a conversation than just words; there are gestures, body language, and eye contact that makes face-to-face conversations very important to have.
The ideology behind social media and technology is that it’s supposed to connect us, but in reality, I use my social networking to read random posts, see pictures, and to watch random videos for my enjoyment, not to connect with others. I very rarely use social media to connect with others. Below is a great video, a TEDTalk on how social media and our phones is ruining our communication with others.
Social media has it’s perks and downsides in all aspects of people’s lives. From how people interact when in their families to how they connect and make new friends based on many different factors. It’s hard to say social media hasn’t impacted all areas of life. Especially if so many people are using social media and are influenced by it. Everyone at least knows a relative or close friend heavily influenced by social media. One of the most revolutionary changes of the internet is how social media has changed our relationships. I don’t think these relationships just span human relationships but also with animals and the environment. The most noticeable one has been between human relationships because most individuals can see the changes and compare them to any of their past experiences. Many people on the internet try to become really popular and well-liked by over-sensationalizing their experiences. This could be by capturing a beautiful scene in nature and then adding filters or Photoshop, or by producing a short video clip of how cute their cat is after forcing the animal to do the thing behind the scenes.
All these aspects create an ideal image of popular people online, which unfortunately many people compare themselves to. One quote from the Huffington Post by R. Kay Green mentions this phenomenon, “…social media effect creates a false sense of self and self-esteem through the use of likes, fans, comments, posts, etc. For many social media users, it is an esteem booster, which explains why so many people spend so much time on social media. It provides many individuals with a false sense of self and an inflated sense of who they really are.” This quote is especially true if other people are under the impression that the person they admire is being their ‘authentic’ self, instead of the curated image most people portray themselves. Additionally, it encourages most people to look at the world around them as means to acquire praise instead of enjoying whatever they’re experiencing. With all the praise people receive online, it ends up basing a person’s self-esteem and worth on what moments they can share with fans or followers online.
We live in a time of great technological advancements. The mass media has become one of the necessary parts in our daily life. Social media made people connect with each other easier. We can know people or see what people do through the social media, instead of making physical connections. It has either positive or negative impacts to our society.
And I agree with what R. Kay Green said, “The concept of presenting our ideal selves versus our real selves has become more and more prevalent on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn.” This is really true, a lot of people want to be like someone, and then they might put some fake information about themselves. Some people are not really how they are when they were using social media. This is really sad and something I don’t want to see.
Human beings yearn for connection and belonging. Yet with the rise of social media, there are concerns many people appear to be substituting virtual, online connections for real-life, social relationships. For example, like Facebook friends, many question the superficiality of such “friendships,” which often leave one frustrated, lonely and struggling to connect on a deeper, more emotionally meaningful level. While our social media friends offer us a great deal, it is not a true substitute or even supplement for real-life interactions with others.
Online friendships, while certainly valuable in many ways, lack the ability to provide us with opportunities for deep and lasting emotional closeness. I am not saying don’t make friends over internet or don’t use social media, I just encourage people that rekindle lost connections and revisit childhood friendships and make your real-life relationships strong.
Since the emergence of the internet and widespread access to technology, it has allowed people to create and form new and different kinds of relationships that we were not able to have in times prior. Technology, specifically social media, has made it increasingly easier to create relationships with thousands of people at a time. We are able to see more of not only what our friends are doing throughout their lives but what acquaintances and even complete strangers are up to. Due to how easy it is for an average person in society to connect with large amounts of people it has therefore created weaker physical connections to those around us. It has also made us only connect with those who share our same beliefs and value. Thus making our society more polarized and emotionally and physically disconnected to traditional in person relationships, due to having the capability to solely connect with people through social media.
This directly relates to the concept of weak ties and strong ties that were described by Malcolm Gladwell. “The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life”. This quote describes how social media relationships are based on weak ties. Many people due to social media are gaining more weak relationships than strong ones. This is why social media is creating fewer meaningful relationships between people.
In the modern day many people are creating this idealised version of themselves through the different social media tools out there. Following the topic outlined in the first set of readings, we are influenced to show ourselves as the ideal version, rather than who we really are. It is much easier to make some post online saying how great life has been, or talk about things that we find interesting. It is much harder for someone to show the other side of their life, with the good and the bad being shown, as it is everyday for us. The bad things that happen to us are shown online, but only the most impactful, the things that are considered as necessary for others to know about you. It creates a version of you that has all the extremes of your life shown to others, but not so much of the everyday things, in the general case. There are those who do show more of their real self through social media, however that is not the first response we have when posting online.
This hyper-reality view on others lives causes a shift in our relationships, where only certain things are shared to others online. This is part of the reason why if you leave friends when moving somewhere, you don’t always have the same connection to them that you did when you saw them in real life. Those friends give off more of a nostalgic feeling, that you are just looking at what happened rather than being a part of what is happening. That is why many long distance friendships or relationships don’t really work out so well, because we can’t feel as connected to the person when we aren’t actually there. The medium does allow us to have more “friends”, but are those really the same as a friend that is nearby, that you’re with in reality? For me, there is a vast difference between the two, that being able to relate and talk the same way isn’t as possible with social media tools.
Currently the best way to stay connected to people online is by using a voice-over ip tool, such as Skype, to have audio and video calls with someone. However, Skype isn’t as popular as Facebook, because Facebook is able to let a larger audience be able to see what you are doing. Social media isn’t exactly the best for real relationships with others, rather it is to allow a larger group of people that you aren’t as connected to, be able to see what you are doing. For instance, it allows all of your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and old classmates see what is currently happening with you, without needing to be in good contact with you. I believe that social media shouldn’t be seen as much as a way to connect with friends, but for everyone else to connect to you. It is a way to bridge the gap for people that don’t already know you really well to learn more about you. Sure, it may be informative for your friends to also watch what it is that you post, but friends should be people that have a better connection to you in some other medium besides social media alone.
Practically, social media is functioning as a platform for users to interact with each other on a virtual basis. It is true that by using social media we can keep connected with someone that is far away from us. But from a different perspective, social media is affecting our physical relationship with people around us. We need to consider how it has changed our social life with people around our circle.
Social media could affect the user mentally. The addiction and obsession to use social media can lead the user to dissociate with the society. It also can change one’s personality because of the desire to reach out this high level of popularity on social media. The user tries to be attractive and fun on the social media with the hope to make the followers to like them back. Sometimes, the user uses the social media as a platform to be someone who they don’t get to be in real life. They want to look perfect, flawless and fun for the followers that they don’t even know exist or not. It is a nature of a human being to be the center of attraction and it’s unchangeable for some people.
In my opinion, I believe that social media is actually one of the strangest phenomena that are happening in today’s modern society. Based on the idea by Le Guin of the future being a metaphor for the present, social media is totally a good example for that. We can’t predict what is going to happen for the next 100 years if the usage of social media nowadays becoming more powerful and advanced in society. This trend would eventually lead to a society that is shaped up based on social media popularity. Black Mirror: Nosedive episode would actually happen if people keep behaving in the same way towards the future. For instance, you can’t befriend with someone that has a higher rate on social media, or maybe it is going to be hard for you to find a job because the only thing that future employers are going to look is your popularity and influence on social media. My examples seem too harsh for it to actually happen in real life but it is slowly happening around us.
It is hard to get away or stop using social media. Even if we stop using one, we still need it for other purposes. We can’t deny the unlimited benefits that we’ve gained by using this virtual platform. Social media is undeniably a base of connection, where everything is related in a complex web.
The way social media has changed the whole universe is in a rapid speed and truly has a dramatic effect. Social media has been dominating a big part in our lives that we can not even imagine spending a day without it. How has social media changed our interpersonal relationship? Social media is a huge part of our culture that is growing every day. It offers us a chance to remain close with others in ways that were once nearly impossible, and social networking sites like Facebook, Messenger, and Skype are becoming ever more popular. It keeps family and friends connected, opens up opportunities to meet new people, and it improves existing relationships. It also allows for global interaction with people from different backgrounds. Through social networking, we can establish friendships with people around the world and maintain our relationships in our daily lives.
It sounds appealing of how the significant amount of convenience social media has brought into our lives. Ironically, people nowadays are more concerned about our own popularity accumulated, who got more followers and likes. Someone captured a scene on the ceremony and people were all taking pictures so as to post to show the best them, get more likes, and sink deeper into that addicted own unrealistic world. In other words, they were living in the virtual worlds instead of actually enjoying in the moment. I also watched Season 3 episode 1 of Black Mirror, as others recommended. There’s a dystopian world where everything is based on your rating, you have more privileges if you got higher rate. On the contrary, lower rate means your life is restricted, being judged until you regain high rate again.
Personally, I am not against nor fond of social media. The fact is we now have many more chances to maintain our relationships than we ever have before, but it’s slowly ruining the quality of our lives, our own way of thinking, the unconscious addiction to the virtual world.