Isn’t it weird how the world of social media has taken over; actually it isn’t weird, it’s to be expected and part of the natural progression in life, but it doesn’t mean we have to agree with it and give in completely to its pull. When I was younger all I had were colouring pens, pencils, crayons, a bike, two dolls (without all the different clothes for changing them), a skateboard, at some point a scooter, Lego and eventually a Commodore 64. My time was spent out in the late afternoons/early evenings talking with my friends or running around climbing over people’s gardens to get home whilst playing run outs.
Today, children are too busy with their faces stuck in their mobile phones, on the Xbox, Wii, Play Station or DS style hand-held gaming device. They take over your PC logging into either a social media account such as Twitter or Facebook and for the younger generation, sites such as Club Penguin or Moshi Monsters. Some children are even lucky enough to have their own laptops, iPhones, iPods, iPod Touches or iPads; gone are the days when we used to play with marbles, seeing who can get to the end of the street the quickest by kneeling on a skateboard, or walking round the corner and knocking on your mates door to see if they wanted to come out and play. There’s a change in how we play, interact and communicate; we’ve lost that closeness and physical bond. They don’t notice the subtle differences as time moves on, they weren’t raised in the past, it’s all about the now and the now includes technologies like we’ve never seen them before. Literally!
They are logged in to the web, posting photos, adding friends, playing games, trying to see who can keep their pretend on-screen garden the cleanest, they use text talk and even struggle generally to complete a comprehensive sentence using the correct grammar and punctuation. People have over 300 friends on their account, but why? Surely they don’t interact with them all?!!? They don’t talk to 90% of them and 7% of those they do talk to are only contacted through that site. (I’m estimating, that isn’t a researched figure!) It isn’t just the younger generation either.
My Facebook account never had more than 50 friends at one time and the majority if those were family members who I rarely saw. We didn’t talk, even via the web so why did they ask me to be their friend? Was it a popularity contest to see how many they could include on their account, were they intrigued about my life or maybe it was a bit of both!? Over time and more so after leaving my last job, I whittled down my account to those who made some form of contact and eventually I had only 30 contacts. I say had, but I have only thirty contacts. A couple of old school parents who have moved to another country, some old work colleagues and the rest family. Compared to the majority, that isn’t a lot at all but I didn’t and don’t see the point in having friends who you never talk to and they only want to compare their life to yours.
Everyone puts everything on these social media sites, from photos to updates on their status, a check-in on where they are about to eat or visit and even what a wonderful time they had at so and so’s. Some even go as far as to place sympathy statuses up where they want attention, it’s there to get a reaction; most of us have done it in riddles to provoke replies but some more than others do it to hang their dirty laundry on the line for all to see. It’s not a pretty sight!
Personally, I found you are able to interact in a little of people’s lives without actually being there, but some things would depress me or make me jealous or I’d question why them and not me. What I didn’t understand was that although I had those feelings, if I was put in the predicament where I’d be given that opportunity they had, I wouldn’t accept it, so why did I feel that way?
I stopped using my account two weeks ago – to start with I wanted to log-in out of habit and check what people were up to, but over time I wasn’t missing it. I did peek twice during that first week and ended up coming away thinking about other people too much for more than just those days, it wasn’t and isn’t healthy. I’ve left my accounts active so that family can contact me via Facebook if they must, I’ll receive an email which I can reply without logging in and I can share a photo for them to see, I miss the interaction a little but at the same time, I don’t miss the stress. Whilst I don’t like not knowing what’s going on in their life, I know I’m better off not being wound up by things that have little significance in my life.
You could argue that my reason for not hating but disapproving of the amount of our life it’s taking away from other things and people is purely due to my inability to cope with my feelings and emotions, but its by stepping back that I started to realise just how much it’s taking over our lives.
I suppose you could look at technological devices as a vortex into another world where most of us get sucked into. Once there, we lose all memory of the old and never want to return for the good!
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