Sunday, December 29, 2013
So the latest craze, it seems, is my generation's addiciton to social media. Things like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram...you name it, have taken hold of my fellow earth dwellers, quickly entwining their slight, but strong, tentacles into every aspect of their day. A status update isn't enough, now we have to have a location and a picture attached to it. I'm not exactly sure how snapchat works, but my understanding is that people are able to take pictures of whatever they're doing and send it to their friends whenever they want. I find this incredibly creepy, bordering on infringement of privacy. The world doesn't need to know (via a cheesy selfie) that you've arrived at work and now you're going to clock in and then you're going to...NOBODY CARES!!!
Call me old fashioned. Call me grumpy and dated. Even if I could afford a smartphone, I wouldn't buy one. Actually, the only reason I even have a cell phone is because it's the only way most of my friends communicate anymore. Communication....that is what we're trying to accomplish with all this "technology", right? Because we have these apps on this kind of phone we can now communicate faster, easier, and better...right? But is communication what we're ultimately striving for, or are we simply trying to be noticed? Often times I get the feeling that instead of communicating (exchanging ideas/news between two parties), people use social media sites as their personal soap box, yelling out for all to hear, their own opinion/view/philosophy/theory/etc. Isn't that what I'm doing right now? Well....shoot!
My fear is that users will take the soap box-freedom thing too far by saying things that they wouldn't normally say in person. Blurting things out on the internet doesn't require you to be face to face with another human. You aren't able to see how your words are affecting your readers. People tend to be harsher with their words online, than when discussing them face to face. Are we then practicing good communication, or are we merely taking part in a virtual shouting match? Is your point really getting across?
When I first started blogging, I was guilty of this. I didn't necessarily beat or bully people with words, but I used my blog almost as my own personal journal opened for the world to read. Trust me, some things are better kept private. It took a reality slap from some loved ones to open my eyes to the fact that I was making a fool of myself. My hope is that those of us who do choose to use social media tools will do so, consciously thinking about how whatever they're about to post will affect those who read it. Be kind with your words, be considerate. Please also consider that whatever you're about to post might be better accepted by the intended receiver in a face to face conversation, rather than splayed out online for all to see. I'm not naive. I know there's a real world out there and life isn't sugar coated, but I don't think it would hurt for us to write as if our moms were looking over our shoulders!