Challenge – Day One

Five problems with social media.

I have to limit it to just five?

One: Social anxiety at the speed of light. I’ve written about this in depth before. If you are interested in the long version, click here. The short version is, now those of us who are socially awkward have the alarming opportunity to experience that angst not only in our real world interactions, but in the digital one as well.

Two: Nuance. Real life communication involves body language, facial expression, tone and a whole host of non-verbal cues to express the entire story. Unfortunately, there’s no font for sarcasm. Emoji cannot truly express complex emotion. There are no clues in lines of text to help us discern sincerity, or lack there of. The potential for misconception is elephantine.

Two.Point.Five: Duck face selfies. Need I say more? Quack.

Three: False intimacy. There’s an unrealistic sense of confidentiality on the interwebs. People share things on social media that they would never dare to disclose face-to-face. Perhaps using the screen as a buffer, forgetting there there are real live people on the other side, give posters the courage to spill their deepest secrets, inappropriate commentary, and showcase photos that will eventually come back to haunt them. (Google “Facebook posts that cost people their job.” I dare you.)

Four: Addiction. The ‘net is the new drug. While Internet Addiction Disorder was originally introduced as satire in the mid-90’s, the truth is that compulsive internet usage is becoming a problem –  impulse control that interferes with daily life. While the occasional YouTube marathon seems harmless, issues begin when users replace the real world, both experiences and relationships, with the cyber ones.

Five: Deteriorating relationships. In a world of  instant communication, texting, e-mail and instant messaging, it appears that people are forgetting how to relate, in person. The art of conversation is becoming woefully endangered, supplanted by vacant memes and hollow LOL’s. Couples dress up, go out to dinner, and spend half the evening staring at their phones, as opposed to being present, together. People are becoming far more comfortable reaching out to their screen than interfacing vis-a-vis.

Let’s be clear, I’m not saying technology is evil. How we use those innovations can either enhance our lives or detract from them. The choice is ours.


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