Techno Thursday: Is social media really social?

I have always been an early adapter of technology, but not always an early adapter of social media and I’m not talking blogging or websites or various forms of communication and advertising. I think the internet is a vast and wonderful place to find out all sorts of valuable information. Without the internet, my job would not exist. I also love that things like Google Hangouts and Facetime now allow my husband to travel a lot less, since he’s having virtual meetings. eMail writing makes it easier AND faster to communicate with friends. I’ve even become fond of some of the services that will send out invitations and birthday cards.

Much of social media is used to promote a product, business, or brand. It is also used to keep up with family and friends. I love that while my daughter is in the Peace Corps living in Madagascar, she can still, when in a town with internet, post pictures and communicate with all of us back home. I believe she has a stronger relationships with family  members because of these types of social sites. And really, thank God for Facetime! Both audio and video. Its nice to be able to actually talk with her each week. Twenty years ago, we would have been waiting MONTHS for just one letter.

Social media is good for so many things, but I don’t find it to be social. I want social interaction, I’ll go see a friend. Pick up the phone. Talk to my pet rock. In an effort to engage and network, we develop on-line relationships, and yes, some, actually, many, can and will develop into real, face to face social interactions. But lets face it, no one has 5k friends on Facebook that are real, honest friends. Yeah, sure, with Authors, there is the fan thing. Another good reason fro social media. A connection to a favorite author. TV star. Dog (as in Cool Gus).

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We’ve become all consumed by social media. Watching the news the other night, listening to the Anchor say, “he tweeted an apology” just made me cringe. Sure, Social Media is often live, happening right then. I personally prefer to get alerts on my phone about news and other important topics than sit in front of my computer looking at trending topics. But so many of us have Social Media dialed as high as it can go, barely taking a break from it. Its always on. Always calling you, telling you that you’re engaging with people, making new friends, networking.

Perhaps, a little. Perhaps enough to say we need to be on social media.

But not so much we need to join a support group for people addicted to Social Media.

There are many studies now that show the negative affects of social media on our mental health and on our productivity. We need to learn to turn it off sometimes.

Another area of concern for me with Social Media is that often times people say things they wouldn’t normally say. Social Media has become a place to rant about this or that, and don’t you dare disagree with me, only lovers welcome. Haters beware. Social Media has made the divide in topics even greater and the anger even stronger. And none of that is being social.

And I do think there is some truth to Einstein’s quote.

Einstin Technology

So, in a nutshell. Technology and social media are a good thing, but they come at a cost. A personal cost we can control.

3 Comments

  1. Good post, Jen. Like you, I love technology for its ability to keep families closer (esp. when they live 2k miles away) and social media (FB, esp.) since I get to connect with family & friends and see pictures of them & their families. But, as you say, we can let it consume us. I do think the benefits outweigh the negatives. Thanks for your thought-provoking post.

  2. Good article, Jenn. The last paragraph is so true. I was foolish enough to think I could have a discussion with some others who don’t share my views – Bob mentioned in a post how he pointed out the issue with the unsafe situation in the picture on the range. He apparently got the same reaction I have – don,t dare disagree with me! The Internet has many great resources – but honest feedback and discussion is not one of them!
    By the way, I also enjoy following your daughters posts – much more enjoyable than listening to the biased media who only cover a story if they can make “Breaking News” out of it.

  3. I absolutely agree that our society’s need to be on social media is becoming somewhat of an addiction. Whenever I sell my books at an event I ask people what do they like to read. The most common responses,”I don’t read” or “I don’t have time to read.” Sad. I think what’s wrong with us in so many ways is because we aren’t reading, learning, broadening our horizons. Clicking “like” on a cat video just doesn’t count for expanding intellect.

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