Social media. The term is as ubiquitous, today, as was “record” or CD, or VHS, or DVD (but not LaserDisc or Betamax, or Super Audio CD. Those never caught on. Which is too bad, because they were superior technologies. That’s another story.).
Immediately, we know what someone means – or we think we do – when we use the term “social media.” It’s been lauded as the next generation of targeted mass communication and the worst thing to happen to the social sphere since…well…ever. While there are behavioral parallels that transcend generations, social platforms take advantage of new technologies that allow us to be more connected than ever – via mobile devices, laptops, even our smart TVs. But, are we really connected? In this way, the waters in which we swim are uncharted. Or, maybe not. Maybe, we do know where this is headed – and, it isn’t great.
And, I’ve been right there with the salmon, swimming upstream to an almost certain outcome.
It’s time to stop .
First and foremost, it’s a huge distraction. Or, can be. Especially for those of us with flexible schedules. Often, we end up taking work home, because we didn’t finish it during the day. So, did we ever truly unplug? And, how healthy is that, really?
Second, it encourages narcissism and other unhealthy behavior. Let me clarify that. This isn’t the Twinkie defense. Social media didn’t make me a narcissist or insecure, or any number of things that lead to unhealthy social interaction. It only exposed something that’s been there, all along. We justify it, because everyone else is doing it. I can hear my mother, now…
We stay in our little cocoons and wait for our next crumb of validation. Someone upsets us too horribly, and either we get into a large, public online argument – the likes of which are often much harsher than would happen if we were talking face-to-face. Or, we just block the person. Out of sight, out of mind. Serenity now. Until the next time someone says or posts something we don’t like. And, the dance starts all over again.
Sometimes, those knee-jerk blocks are with a long-time friend or acquaintance, and we miss out on what would have been a great opportunity to connect in meaningful ways. Then, something happens to change that possibility forever. The one thing we can’t ever get back is time. Do we really want to waste it being mad at people for their opinions? And, just how important are my opinions, anyway?
Or, we engage in “vaguebooking” or “subtweeting” – indirect confrontational behavior that is clear to the person targeted. And, maybe a few others familiar with the situation. It is passive aggressive behavior at its best, and is the preferred choice of those who want to send a message, with minimal drama. Or would prefer not to air 100 percent of their dirty laundry. Both laudable goals, I suppose, but they’ll never take the place of direct communication.
Personally, I find passive aggressive behavior to be among the most abhorrent practices. My tolerance for it, from other people, is incredibly low. And, yet, I’ve done both of those things. It’s not how I wish to conduct myself.
So, since I can’t change other people, I choose to focus on me. Some would argue I do enough of that. But, again, different topic. Besides, my insurance company pays a therapist for that nonsense.
Mostly, I’ll do what I always do. But, you won’t hear about it. I’ll work, read, listen to music, watch TV or films, and if I really want to say something, you might read about it here.
Otherwise, it’s no longer a good thing for me, in which, to engage. Not the way I’ve been doing it. And, not for now. The narcissist in me thinks I’ll be missed. The super critic thinks you’ll all be glad. The reality is, likely…yes.
What’s most important, is that my innermost self knows this is the right thing. So, for now, I’m out…