About a week ago I posted about how I’ve come to the realization that there is no escaping social media, especially as an aspiring journalist. I admitted that I had, and still kind of have, an aversion to the madness that is social networking, and in this post I will tell you why.
There are two main areas that I believe social media has negatively impacted. Don’t get me wrong, I still see the necessity and benefits of this new way of sharing information in our world today, but it is important that we are careful about how it influences our pride and our relationships.
It’s all about me!
At church, the pastor mentioned that our first response, now that we have media like Twitter and Facebook, is to promote it immediately. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram whether it is for a business or for personal use is, when you really think about it, all about promotion. It is a great tool for advertising and this is a definite plus, but we can also let pride get the best of us and get carried away with this “all about me” mentality. This is exactly what I started seeing in my own experience, which is probably the biggest reason why I deleted my Facebook account. Instead of using it to keep connected and share information with others, I found myself constantly thinking, how will this picture/post/status/comment be received? And constantly checking to see how many responses or “likes” I got. It really consumed me and that’s why I wanted to avoid it all together (okay, I admit, that was a pretty dramatic reaction, but I hope you see what I’m getting at).
The new ability we have to communicate and keep in touch with people we haven’t seen in years along with those who live in different countries has drastically changed the dynamics of relationships and communication. It blows my mind to think about how easy it is to keep in touch with a classmate from 1st grade or someone across the globe. That said, the conversations that we have with others over social media, in my opinion, tend to take priority over real, face-to-face fellowship with each other. Social media is a great tool for communication and even relationship building. I think it is important that we take advantage of it, but we cannot let messaging back and forth or tweeting or commenting on pictures replace the relationship building that can only happen when we personally invest in each other. I think this goes along with the pride issue. It’s convenient to keep relationships at a distance and half-heartedly keep in touch with others in a way that is comfortable to us. But that’s not what relationships are about. Even when it may be easier said or communicated online, we can’t let that slowly replace actual “old fashion” means of communication (like talking, hanging out, and yes, even letter writing).
So yeah, that was my little spiel/two cents on how social media has impacted us. I hope it didn’t come off in a harsh, critical way. Like I said, it is amazing what we can now do thanks to social media but it’s important that we are aware of how this tool can be abused, especially in a career like journalist where people depend on what you put online. We need to remember that, as Uncle Ben says in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”