My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

If you’ve followed me for very long, you know that I generally try to stay upbeat.  I don’t have much use for complaining, because complaining serves very little use!  Social media has been a wonderful way to catch up with old friends, get to know new ones, and even express myself.  As someone who likes to write, having the outlet of social media has been wonderful.

So, what is my problem? Well, its most likely the same as yours. Social media can draw us into a virtual world where much time can be wasted. The appeal of the newsfeed to see what’s new lures you in. ‘Oh, I’ll just be on for 5 minutes!”  Yes, that’s what we say before we look at the time and realize that a full 30 minutes have passed by.  We think, “Just one more status update, one more recipe, one more meme” and we are lost in the maze of interesting but unproductive posts. Unproductive, because our “to do” list is still waiting for action!

Sure, there are posts that are actually positive or even helpful. I’ve found great low carb (and not so low card) recipes on Pinterest. I’ve read encouraging blog posts by motivational friends. The problems is that “just one more” mentality. Ah, there’s where some of the “hate” comes in. If only time would stand still while we pursue the newest posts of friends and those we follow!

I have one other problem, though. This is the problem that motivated me to write. I’ll introduce it with a question: How many posts do you actually interact with? How many do you actually go through the trouble to make a comment?  I have both seen posts and made posts that request a comment, only to have little to no response. Not only is it disheartening (I believe I speak for all of us who pour out our hearts to the benefit of our friends and followers) but it causes me to wonder about what we are doing to ourselves with our virtual friendships.

By reading posts, we feel as if we have some involvement in that person’s life. When we have friends who are active in social media, we get a really good view of what’s going on in their lives. (I know, some give TOO much information, but I won’t dwell on that right now.) The problem is the deception that we are somehow interacting with them and actually maintaining a friendship.  Remember, conversations are 2 way, so if we aren’t actually commenting or sharing thoughts with our friends, then we really aren’t maintaining friendships at all.  My daughter calls it stalking. Others have referred to it as voyeurism. Those are strong words, but think about it… If we behaved in the exact same way in real life, how would it be interpreted?

Like you, I find myself just passively scrolling through newsfeeds. I have to really be conscious to interact with those I care about. This is part of engaging life.  If we really want the most out of social media, perhaps our love relationship needs to be with actual interactions with friends through it. We should treat it as a means of communication, rather than a one sided personal news channel about all the people we know.

What do you think?

 

© 2016 Deborah Wittig

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