I’ve been thinking about the effects of technology and this social media phenomenon that has got too many of us caught up. The reality is that technology has been consuming the lives of most folks ever since the first computer and phone were created. Just think about how the development of mobile technology has played a crucial role in shaping the impact that social media has had on society to this day.
When you stop and take a deeper more critical look, across the globe, social media sites dominate in terms of total minutes spent online, and with the advent of this technology it puts the means to connect anywhere, at any time on any device in everyone’s hands. Kids, teenagers, and adults. It’s been not only an outlet but it also doubles as an distraction and for some an addiction. And it has forever changed the landscape of human interaction. So the question becomes, why are we more attached to communicating via a screen than actually meeting up with and talking to people face to face? And what are we teaching our kids about communicating, dialoguing, and interacting with folks?
Let’s take a minute to discuss social media. Social media is a way to get our feelings or pictures out to the public for friends, family, colleagues, and strangers to see. I mean let’s think about it for a minute; a vital characteristic of contemporary society right now is making a name for yourself via numbers of “Likes,” “Followers“, and “Subscribers. However, even though countless likes might make you happy, it is only short term. That instant gratification might satisfy your “social media need,” but it’s really kind of sad to think that we all rely on “likes” to make us feel good about ourselves.
Then of course there’s our desire to disclose personal information about ourselves to others which is ingrained in the human condition and not just a product of social media, nor is it specific to social media, but we gotta acknowledge that social media certainly does supply the platform to expose ourselves and share our lives to the masses and receive immediate feedback. Plus, social media has quickly become an important tool for personal publicity, which has been both good and bad for society in my opinion. It’s almost as if we’re addicted to the feeling of being validated by folks, even those we don’t know and have never met, and whose only connection is through some social media platform.
And even though the whole point of social media is to allow people to stay connected with others, it doesn’t have the same satisfaction and element associated with actual human interaction, which is a vital human need. In fact, in some ways, it’s made folks entirely too distant and this is not a good thing for those who have now become dependent on social media.
I mean, what happened to wanting that face to face connection with someone? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with meeting and connecting with folks online, matter of fact I’ve met some great people online and have created genuine and authentic friendships this way. I believe that the notion of connectedness resonates as a social necessity, and it works positively if we control when and where it operates. But what happens when human connectedness is absent? What does it mean that more people are comfortable communicating via technology than actually talking and meeting face to face?
I realize that some folks prefer to communicate behind a screen because they feel empowered when they’re online and feel like they can make any type of post or send a message without too much care because they don’t have to see the person’s reactions. All they have to do is type a few words and hit send. It’s to the point that for some, real human interaction has become extremely uncomfortable and it’s becoming way too common to hide behind your computer screens and not go out at all.
At the risk of sounding facetious, if we’re not careful, some folks are gonna forget the basic traits and characteristics of being a human, and we’ll find ourselves in a world in where not only is technology replicating humanity, but where humanity replicates technology. Now that is a frightening thought.