Disclaimer: This is not an attack on social networking (where would my blog be without social networking?) but instead an investigation into our obsession with social platforms.
“My name is Cristine and I’m an apps-aholic.”
I have been meaning to gather my thoughts on social media for a while now and create a blog post but then I wrote other articles which I thought were of greater importance such as the “Dear Men We Like Beards” article leaving very little time to dwell on, research and write anything else because as you are all aware the female attraction to beards is an important topic of discussion, so much so that the advancement of male and female relationships depend on it (I hope you heard my sarcasm). However, the time is now ripe to discuss the implications of social media, particularly “social” networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The aforementioned sites brand themselves as catalysts for social communication and collaboration, eliminating the problem of distance that is so prominent in relationships and they probably have in most cases. However, another strange thing has happened, we have become socially deficient. We know what it takes to maintain our 500 plus friends on twitter (we tell twitter jokes, we retweet memes and parade our most aesthetically pleasing “selfies” all over the timeline ) and yet we have never taken the time or care to try and retain the five friends that we do have in real life. So I’ve called this one the un-social network because we have become unsocial. This article will also explore why we have become so engrossed with living our lives online, submerging ourselves in online spaces and why we don’t spend enough time offline.
Apparently we used to live in a world where we engaged in conversation (although I can’t actually remember when we ever did this) but now the essence of conversation has been eroded by our addiction to social networks.
We are all users looking for our next fix whether it be facebook, twitter, whatsapp, myspace, bebo, Tinder, Tinker or snapchat and the internet is our drug dealer. We start to show signs of withdrawal when we have no stable wifi connection and then we go into complete comatose when our batteries die. We are the online generation who only ever function offline when we need to use the bathroom or eat but even eating has been turned into an online activity with a number of us posting our #HomeCookedDinners and #RestaurantEntrées on instagram, snapchat and twitter. We are completely besotted with the online space.
I would be lying if I said I was not addicted to any social apps, I’m active on twitter and I simply adore snapchat but I’ve come to realise that our obsession is abnormal .
Our readiness to engage with people that we don’t know but neglect relationships that have been built on foundations greater than “retweets” and “hashtags” is worrying. Similarly, our readiness to divulge intimate information about ourselves to strangers is unsettling. The idea that people would go online to have conversations about their relationships, sexual partners, bank account details and their location may have been distant ten years ago but in our “no hold barred” society, these online conversations are a regular occurrence. Nobody asked about your current location but you told us anyway. Nobody asked you for your bank details (yes I have seen many people post pictures of their debit/credit cards online) but you told us anyway.
Perhaps social networking sites give us the validation that we crave. As humans we are constantly looking for someone to tell us that we are worthy, we want to be liked, loved, appreciated and valued. We ask questions like “do you like my hair?” what do you think of this outfit?” “do you like this picture?” because we are inherently self – conscious although we would never admit it. As confident as we think we are, once someone comments on our appearance and we allow their opinion to ferment in our minds, we quickly withdraw to that state of unease we thought we had left. Sadly, Facebook and Instagram likes are seen as a measure of worth. Again we would never admit it, but every time we post our selfies or our” OTD” (outfit of the day) “OTN” (outfit of the night) a part of us wants that picture to receive the most likes possible because we are after acceptance. We want to flaunt our individualism so long as we are receiving positive feedback, which is the ultimate aim. Our pre-occupation with wanting to be wanted might explain why there has been a break down in face to face communication. We want instant self-satisfaction and social networking sites provide that instantaneous confidence boost.
Perhaps we live our lives online more so than ever before because it’s just easier. It’s easier to pretend to be having fun than actually have fun. It’s easier to fake a persona online than it is offline. “A picture is worth a thousand words” but it can also be full of a thousand well-crafted and well staged emotions. There is always that tendency to “pose” for a photo, which again reinforces the pretence. I’m not saying that all photographs are filled with people who are not truly exhibiting the emotions that are being portrayed; I’m simply stating that social networking sites allow us to create our own hyper-reality even if it is different from real-reality. Social networking sites provides an escape from reality and this is why we are comfortable living these well crafted, well staged lives even if it is for show. Escaping into a world where you are the master planner may be easier than living in a world where you feel you are not in control.
Perhaps we neglect real communication because it is just too real and burdensome or maybe we just have lost the art of conversation. The idea that face to face communication will soon become redundant sounds outlandish but is a real possibility. We have become so busy that conversation is considered burdensome. Something that is burdensome loses its value and once that happens we neglect it and once we neglect it, it becomes a thing of the past.
Maybe you have never thought about the psychology behind our obsession with everything that has been mentioned above or maybe you have, but regardless of your position it is very obvious that we are social media junkies, we love to get high on twitter’s (insert any site here) supply. If ever we needed to check ourselves into a rehabilitation centre it would be now .
Love Cris x
p.s share this article on every social media platform lol.