Social media, the only place where ‘poking’ someone is deemed socially acceptable, or that even the archaic idea of writing on someone’s ‘wall’ is the norm. Also, Tweets? I mean, really? What sort of name is that? Social media has, in theory, turned our lives upside down and replaced us with mere shadows of ourselves, choosing only to ‘communicate’ over the Internet.
I have had my qualms with social media sites for as long as I can remember. The idea that almost every aspect of your life is documented left an uneasy feeling in my stomach and a bitter taste in my mouth. Think George Orwells’ 1984 with a modern twist- scary. Why does everyone feel the need to tell their 564 friends about what they had for dinner that evening, I can guarantee at least 563 of them couldn’t care less? Facebook started out as a way for course mates to stay in touch, not to find out every single detail about someone you have met once in your life.
Aside from the obvious and incredibly intrusive characteristics of social media sites, our communication skills are decreasing by the second. Most of our conversations are held via the Internet instead of face-to-face; we are theoretically the lepers of the social world. The poor waitress at Nandos who I simply stuttered at last week will vouch for that.
I’m not just saying this, but I do believe social media has a detrimental effect on most of our lives. You may think the earlier Nandos incident was a one-off? Think again. I now opt for the self-service tills in supermarkets and if I go through the drive-thru at McDonalds and it isn’t the intercom my heartbeat increases and my palms start to sweat. My irrational fear of talking to other people may be slightly dramatic and exaggerated, but Facebook and Twitter most certainly have to accept some responsibility. Without these sites I’d no doubt be more tanned and far less socially inept.
This isn’t a complete damnation of anything Facebook or Twitter related, there are many pros to these sites. For example, it is very amusing to see what sort of unconscious messes your friend’s were last Friday at Cockpit. With every laugh however, comes sorrow at the fact that one time or another you were that mess.
I will admit that social media sites are good for a lot of things. Keeping in touch with people in other countries, for example. Long-distance friendships and relationships can be kept alive solely by the ease at which people can communicate these days. I can’t imagine a relationship with your partner in Ireland would work as well with carrier pigeons would it?
I begrudgingly admit I am not immune to the social media bug. Having both Facebook and Twitter, and spending all of my time doing literally nothing on it, I contradict almost everything I have written. Whether this is down to peer-pressure, or knowing that I wouldn’t even talk to my friends if I deactivated my accounts, I can’t seem to imagine life without it. We live in a digital era where, if something isn’t done electronically, even something as mundane as talking, it isn’t likely to be done at all. So there you have it, I conformed. Even though I’m very unhappy about it.