It is always funny when you are with a group of people and then realize everyone is on their cell phone. You or someone else points out that all of you aren’t really together; you all chuckle, and then go back to what you were doing. Then there are those who make a big deal out of it. Like, by not talking and being on your phones, you aren’t really hanging out. You are all still alone – just alone while being together.
There are good and bad things about living in this age of technology. Many people seem to tilt one way or the other and that makes sense – different people use technology and are involved in social media differently. Those who are more involved will obviously see a lot of the benefits, while those who are less involved will see a lot of the deficits.
Social media is good in that it links people. Same with cell phones and other technology. I love that I can Skype or Facetime with people on the other side of the country! I love that instead of talking to one friend at a time, I can multi-task and text several friends throughout the day. Social media is good at that. It is so good, that technology has linked cultures where there once was a divide.
People across America used to be divided by their different regions. Different people in different areas of the U.S. had some things in common, but there were a lot of differences. With the growth of technology, many people who were raised with social media seem closer linked with their generation. Trends now aren’t regional. Trends now go national. This makes it easier to communicate and market audiences. It also takes away a lot of individualism.
A lot of these individuals struggle with an identity crisis. They want to be different yet belong, and with so many different unoriginal outlets, the chase becomes tiresome. Many individuals can be in a group of people but feel alone. They do not know how to verbally socialize with others, because they are so used to being able to edit what they write through texting and social media. They are used to writing without seeing the emotions they are causing others, and the shift from private “social media” to public interaction can become overwhelming.
Many people don’t know how to be alone. Or they don’t know what it is like to miss someone.
If you are dating someone, I am pretty sure you text constantly. Surprisingly, that wasn’t always the case. You couldn’t keep tabs on people. You simply had to trust them. You hoped they would meet you at the restaurant or the movies when they said they would. Even parties with friends were a risk. How would you know if any of your friends would be there? You didn’t, and if they weren’t, you would be there and would have to make new friends.
Many teenagers and young adults don’t know what it is like to make new friends. Instead of going to an event and meeting new people, if their friends text them and tell them they aren’t going, then chances will be slim they will go themselves. They can just stay home and “connect” with their friends online or do something else – something that is comfortable.
Social media has its good qualities. Because of it, I can connect with anyone in the U.S. I can just ask them about what so-and-so said on Twitter or ask them what they thought of a certain YouTube video. I can keep in contact with them regardless of where they live, because they most likely live in a place where there is Internet connection. Unfortunately, there are also negative sides to social media and technology. There is never a sense of longing – it can always be fulfilled with some Facebook creeping and a text message. There might be unity, but at the cost of individuality.
And technology prevents us from taking risks. At my job, I put on a lot of events. I’m not going to lie… I think some of them are pretty cool. It becomes disheartening though to know that if a couple college students decide they can’t come or they don’t want to come, that the rest will follow their lead. They are afraid to branch out. They are afraid of awkward silences. They are afraid of meeting new people. They might not say it. They might not even realize it. But it is true.
Does social media and technology run your life? Do you need a GPS to figure out where you are going? Do you text all of your friends before deciding if you want to go to an event or party? Do you always have to know what your love interest is doing? Technology is a great tool, but it fails when people completely rely on it for everything. It fails if we use it as an excuse not to grow socially. It fails when we can’t live in reality.