Where were you when you first heard the term “social media”?
For me, social media crept up through AOL‘s AIM. Instant messenger...you had to have the coolest name! Alanna260, took me about thirty minutes to come up with the right one and one that was not taken already!
So when AIM was the cool thing to do, I remember going over to spend the night at a friend’s house and we would immediately go to the computer to get on instant messenger. Essentially, we would hang out together by talking to different people (sometimes boys, ah!) through a screen with little tiny windows.
Looking back, was that really beneficial for my friendship with the person sitting right next to me? Why was there a need to spend so much time ‘socializing’ with other people through a screen? Was the company I had sitting right next to me not good enough? What is this need for social interaction when we usually are amongst people when we use ‘social media’?
There is no doubt that social media helps people organize and keep up to date with real-world relationship and also gives people new opportunities to meet new people.
Along with positive attributes of social media comes negative affects of social media use on real world relationships. Mashable’s article on social media use talks about how people are constantly having to remind themselves to ‘live in the now’.
Think about the last time you were at a concert or walking through a beautiful park with flowers in bloom. At the concert, could you look around and count how many people were ‘watching’ the concert through their phones screen as they were recording or taking a picture? Walking through the park, how many people were angling their phone to get a great shot for instagram?
Social media has taken relationships and the meaning of interaction with people onto a different level.
Why do people watch a concert through a screen as they record? To tweet the video telling their ‘followers’ that they are at a concert having so much fun and to update their friends on their life. Is that really living in the moment and taking part in relationships? Or is that just living to have the next best tweet, or the most ‘likes’ on a photo you post to Facebook?
Studies show that more people socialize online than they do in person.
So, how does social media effect you? Are you able to tear away from Facebook or Twitter when you around a group of friends or family and live ‘in the moment’ or are you ‘socializing’ with others while in the company of real world people and relationships?