Just how social is social media?
When I think back to my life before I began utilizing social media, it’s hard to remember just what I did with my free time. But these days I know just how I waste time: social media, a tool that has revolutionized the way we interact with other people.
Thanks to social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, instead of completely forgetting about that random girl from junior high whose locker was next to yours, you know that she bought some new flats on sale at Target and–big news–she just painted her toenails blue! No matter whether you think it’s for good or bad, you can’t deny social media has drastically changed the way we communicate.
An article on the Guardian sparked debate over social media. Some say social media allows us to be in contact contact with friends, family and colleagues, and others argue it has made us lazy and isolated from the real world. Even though I know it sounds like a cop out, I think both are true, and I agree with some points of both sides of the argument.
While social media is great for maintaining friendships and networking, to me it also creates a sense of extreme laziness and isolation. Sometimes I spend time looking at social media sites and then realize I haven’t actually had a face-to-face conversation with another human being in hours. Other times I Facebook chat with my roommates–while we’re in the same apartment. Is it something I can’t talk to them about in person? No. We’re just honestly that lazy sometimes.
For friends I’m still close to, I’d much rather talk on the phone or Skype than get a bi-annual life update via Facebook. But there are people I’d like to keep in touch with who I’m just not comfortable calling. Thanks to social media (namely Facebook), I have kept in touch with numerous friends from high school who I otherwise would have surely stopped talking to a month after graduation.
I can’t lie. I’m on Facebook a lot. I find it seems to magically pop up on my laptop screen when I just don’t want to read about 19th century theology any longer. And as I get more used to Twitter, I’m sure I’ll be spending more time there, too.
But just how much is too much?
In my case, I find I spend way more time on social networking sites when I am at school, avoiding homework than when I’m at home with my family or am busy with other activities. As long as I’m occupied with something else, I have no real need to check Facebook or Twitter. But when I’m at school, sitting in my room, staring at the wall I go right back to social media sites.
As social media grows and changes as everything does, it will be interesting to see its role in people’s lives. Will everyone be connected to social media sites at all times? Will Facebook and Twitter die out, only to be replaced by the next big thing? Only time will tell. But I’m betting social media isn’t going anywhere for quite awhile.