“When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place.” -Mark Zuckerberg, CEO & Founder of Facebook
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Tumblr. Blogs. Kik. Flickr. The list goes on and on and on but social media is here to stay in a big way!
One thing for certain though, social media has enabled people to connect and communicate at a single keystroke. It enables you to share snippets of your life with anyone who friends or follows; with friends/family and perfect strangers. Social media has created a whole new way to meet and greet perfect strangers.
Unfortunately though, with all of its wonders, it has also created a false sense of belonging; keyboard bandits and bullies; imaginary friends for those how in the real world perhaps wouldn’t have any; make-believe lives; and just about any other dream one can imagine.
I personally am thankful for social media as it has given me, a military brat, the opportunity to connect with friends I never thought I’d see again (my high school was in Germany) contact with family I didn’t grow up with and a front row seat into the lives of perfect strangers (and celebrities). I’ve realized and taken advantage of opportunities I may not have had the chance to in ‘real life’ just by responding to a tweet (true story).
Just as wonderful as I find social media sites, there are some things that really bother me about them. I’ve heard from a few how social media is just messy, petty, drama-laced. However it’s much less about the vehicle and more about those who use it (guns don’t kill people, people kill people). Too often are we so quick to judge social media for the damage the people behind the keyboard instigate versus seeing it for what it is – in many case – and can be. For instance, on any given day there is someone throwing shade to their friend via their personal facebook status. There are those who keep up messy interactions using facebook or twitter (or fill in the blank) to say things they would be less inclined to in a face to face interaction. However, it is NOT social media that is the problem, it is those behind the keyboard who are most likely very messy, drama-filled individuals in their normal lives. Pause and think of any one person engaged in social media, who/how are they outside of social media? Most likely the same messy, drama-filled individual.
On the flip-side you have distant, long-lost lovers who find each other and rekindle young love. You have the ability to communicate trouble, S.O.S, or even mainstream news to the masses by sending one single tweet or FB status. How amazing is that?
Another thing while we’re discussing this is the notion that social media destroys relationships. Well the jury is out on this one but I’ll give my $0.02 anyway. YES, I think social media is just another tool for someone to engage in less than desirable behavior – okay cheating – moreso due to the accessibility of other individuals in a visual interactive capacity. Yet, cheating and adultery have been around since the beginning of time so social media alone does not destroy it as do the individuals who allow themselves to engage in cheating using social media. Communication between the individuals who are obligated to each other must be clear and open in regards to expectations in social media. It can be easy to be taken off guard by your partners’ engagement with say an ex or former anything via social media’s “LIKEs” and “Tags” and inbox messages and other seemingly open social media exchanges. Set boundaries and expectations early while maintaining lines of communication related to social media.
This final thing is more of an observation which I believe we’ve all experienced at one point or another. You hop on facebook or twitter or fill in the blank _________________________ and read a friend/family status that you know is so not the truth typically about their lifestyle or who they are etc. These social media pretenders really keep things entertaining because you of course know the truth and have to wonder WHY in the world would this person create this make-believe world when in reality they are not ‘living large’ but instead perhaps barely living or not one who stays out of drama but she/he who brings it with every step.
Why can’t people just be who they are or at best use social media for the marvel of communication, connection, and endless possibilities it enables versus treating it as the black hole of make-believe?