Social Media’s Illusion of Socialization

Recent conversations about friendship in adulthood have caused me to think a lot more critically about social media. Society’s scapegoat, social media seems to be the source of most of our problems. Instagram is why we are vain, Twitter is why we have short attention spans and Facebook is why we don’t connect with friends beyond out computer screen. I pondered this all weekend, and it just seemed like too simple of an answer. Social media has already proven to have a huge effect on us that isn’t always negative. When it comes to connection, we need to do more than point fingers. We need to ask, what is it about social media like Facebook that causes disconnect?

It seems to me that, among all the social media I listed, Facebook is really the only one that involves people I see in real life. In fact, Facebook is unique in that most people will only befriend people they know. While I may follow some of those same people on other social media platforms, I have no qualms about following complete strangers outside of Facebook. As such, when it comes to the effects of social media on how we make and maintain friendships, Facebook seems to be the obvious target of discussion.

Making friends in adulthood has always been hard. Through my own blogging experience, I’ve found most people made friends at work or through their neighbors. What happens if you simply can’t connect on an intimate enough of a level with coworkers or if you move so frequently that you never get the chance to know your neighbors?

This issue is similar to the problem of single people who are looking for a relationship. Those are pretty limited options for finding friends or lovers. No wonder online dating took off. MeetUp.com, a social site for meeting friends in real life, has done wonders for my friendship needs. I take this as a sign that social media, as a whole, is not the enemy of friendship. In fact, I wonder if the problem has to do with how the world revolves around Facebook.

Many of my high school friends have moved away from the small Iowa town I grew up in. Most of my college friends have moved away to new universities or jobs. I don’t live close to the handful that are still in that college town as I have also moved away. How do I stay up to date on the lives of these friends?

When I was getting ready to study abroad, I helped my parents set up a Facebook account so they could see my adventures. My father hated the very concept, grumbling about how, if he wanted to talk to someone, he’d call them. Yet, as soon as he had made an account, an old friend found him and started to chat over Facebook messenger. My father was delighted to hear from someone who he hadn’t contacted for a long while. Why did this person choose Facebook to reach out to my father?

This photo, “Facebook” is copyright (c) 2014 MoneyBlogNewz and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

All of these questions have the same answer: Facebook. Facebook makes it easier to reach out to people. You can stay in pseudo contact with them by reading their profile and you can send a message without interrupting your day.  I’m sure most Facebook users have dabbed in the delicate art of Facebook stalking. Guilty of it myself, it is a great way to keep up with friends without actually contacting them. Other actions, like sending  a post card or calling someone on the phone, take more effort and more time. As we like to gravitate toward the easiest methods, is it any wonder people have chosen Facebook over other methods of communication?

In reality, calling these methods ‘communication’ is flawed. The action of Facebook stalking involves one person. The other has no idea someone is reading their profile. They have no way of knowing you are interested in their life. With a little more effort, you can choose to send a message on Facebook, an action so minimal it can be done while at work, making dinner or sitting on the toilet. Unlike a phone conversation, messenger conversations are easy to ignore or quickly abandon if something more pressing demands your attention.

Facebook is great, but, more than any other social media platform, it has an uncanny ability to create the illusion of socialization without actual communication. The funny thing is, we know it’s an illusion. I’ll be the first to admit I have Facebook stalked someone specifically because I didn’t want to call them (due to a falling out). There are people out there with whom we don’t want to communicate but who we are still curious about. What better place than Facebook to check in on them?

All weekend, I wondered about the popularity of Facebook and whether people are feeling disconnected because they unintentionally bought into the illusion of communication on Facebook. Do people move away from college and then spend months only communicating with old friends on Facebook? Perhaps making friends is not any more easier or harder than it once was. Maybe the real difference is that social media has made it easier to spend time involved with old friends, which takes away from time we should be spending getting to know our new neighbors. 

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73 thoughts on “Social Media’s Illusion of Socialization”

  1. I bumped into someone in a supermarket car-park the other day who has been a FB friend since I joined millions of years ago – we haven’t seen each other in person for about 18 years and yet I’d seen recent photos of his wedding and he would have known everything about my life from my posts. I didn’t even know he lived near me and at first wasn’t 100% certain it was him. We gave each other an embarassed look and then went on our ways without even saying hello – how ridiculous!! 😉

    1. Wow! That’s crazy, and yet, unsurprising. I follow a handful of people from high school that I haven’t seen since I graduated. I wonder if we’d do the same thing. If you don’t mind me asking, was there any particular reason why you didn’t try to initiate a conversation? Would it have been awkward despite knowing about each other’s lives via Facebook?

      1. Initially I wasn’t positive it was him, we literally walked past each other, and then when I was only about a metre away I decided it must have been him – I regretted not saying hello for the rest of the day. I mean, how ridiculous. It struck me that it was so stupid that I told everyone – the fact that you can share so much of your private life with someone who you feel awkward meeting in person is crazy. I suspect it might have been awkward, but if I saw him again I’d definitely say hello – of course I could send him a message through FB but that would just be weird, ha ha.

        1. haha… you could always say “Hey, saw you the other day. We should catch up.” That’s not super weird, right? Not that long ago, I met a blogger in person, whom I had never seen in person before, and I thought it would be crazy awkward. Turns out we started chatting like old friends. If that can happen with someone whom I had never met in real life before, I’m sure you could make the same thing happen with someone you’ve at least met before.

  2. Totally agree. Facebook is not the long Saturday morning coffees with my best friends, it’s not the dinner out with married friends we haven’t seen in a month, but it has helped me stay in touch with ‘long-lost’ friends and see just a minute of their lives at a time.

    1. Long-lost friends has been what Facebook has become for me as well. Although, I do long to see many of them in person again. Sadly, with them scattered all over, I doubt that will happen often. Facebook is a blessing and a curse. One of those blessings is the ability to stay a part of a person’s life when you would otherwise completely lose touch without Facebook.

  3. Facebook is so popular because they put a face to a name you knew before. SO you can identify them as an old friend.
    I think if someone did not feel the need to stay in touch they should not start now 😀
    As to keep it easy to stay up to date with someone you do not want to talk to? i Got better things to do than stalk. But those are my assumptions.
    No i do not have a facebook under my real name. I do not need to be found by those who feel nostalgic.
    I feel friendships have changed, less effort is made out the door.ANd it does make an old relic like me feel lonely on times when everyone is busy keeping up to date on facebook having nothing to tell since they spilled it on twitter as it happened.

    1. Facebook was essential when I was in college. Many classes has facebook groups, university events were often posted exclusively on facebook, along with certain club events. When placed in a group for a project, Facebook was one of the easiest ways to communicate with all members of the group. I lost the need to exchange email addresses or phone numbers because I could reach everyone on Facebook. I think that sort of stuck with me when I left college. All of a sudden, could still communicate with those same friends as if I never left…. except that I couldn’t actually see them. I wonder if that is part of the reason why I waited so long to try finding friends in the area I moved too.

      When it comes to contacting long-lost friends. I think it depends on who you are. There’s no harm in reaching out to a person you want to reconnect with. If they don’t want to, then fine. It seems to me that, social media or not, people tend to make friends all over. I wouldn’t find any fault in someone who had lost contact with me because they’d moved a bunch of times. Distance changes the relationship. I’d be more than happy to reconnect with them, though, if they wanted to.

      1. I am very interested how you used the word distance. As with facebook we can conclude distance has nothing to do with it.
        And for me a phone is still a phone. Making an effort to connect can mean loads. Distance has become obsolete.

        If some one forgot to mention they changed email in my eyes that means our friendship did not mean much. (though i still use my email from 20 years ago.

        Exclusive posts on facebook would have been problematic for me. And still does LOL what is a club if you scattered around.
        getting together gets a different meaning. on ‘presence’

        Mind you I am an old relic. and email has gone a bit out of fashion. though still needed for a facebook account.

        And please i do enjoy the conversation online. but it should not be prioritized though that is just my two cents

        I thank you as i enjoy this kind of thinking.

        1. I guess I mean emotional distant. For example, I have a lot of second cousins, aunts and uncles… I have a lot of old friends from high school and college who I was never super close to but whom I still care about. These are people with whom I would have normally lost with the flow of time. After all, I can’t call every single person I have ever met before all the time.

          If I contacted anyone via email, then yes, I would take that as a sign that the relationship was over. However, I don’t know the email addresses of any of my friends. I know my parents’ email addresses because they don’t use their facebook much. But, all my other friends are also friends on facebook. If I need to contact them in some other way than calling or texting, I contact them there.

          When I was in college, the clubs weren’t scattered. You all met right there. It made things easier because you didn’t have to call a million people to schedule the next meeting date. You could make a group on facebook and plan events out right there. It was kind of like MeetUp.com is, where events were planned on facebook and happened off facebook. I no longer use facebook for that since I have moved away from the college town.

          I agree that I don’t think conversation online should be prioritized. I also don’t think people intend to prioritize it just like they don’t intend to communicate with people just on Facebook. It just sort of happens as the social media platform integrates itself into everyday life. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I just don’t think it’s a conscious thing. I mean… even here at work. Calling or texting isn’t very easy, but typing into facebook messenger is. So, for 8 hours a day, five days a week, facebook messenger becomes the easiest form of conversation. I didn’t expect that to happen… it just kind of manifested as a part of my everyday life.

  4. I suppose compared to my Twitter and WordPress, my Facebook is really superficial. I will get 50 likes for a cartoon cat picture and no likes on something of social value. I hate this fact, it makes us look like stupid cattle. But I can keep up with family/friends events and news. It’s totally different.

    1. Yeah, on Facebook, pictures are everything. I honestly don’t use it much anymore. I much prefer Twitter and WordPress. What’s funny about that is that those are platforms where I am engaging with people I haven’t met in real life. Maybe that’s a good sign. As I become more focused on the people who are currently in my life, I pay attention to Facebook less. Also, it’s full of babies….

        1. Yeah… maybe it has to do with the distant family and old high school friends. I see a lot of drama and I just feel like I’m too old for that crap anymore. I’m starting to revert back to my pre-Facebook days where I’d rather talk on the phone than in a messenger. In some ways, technology has helped this as well. I have a bluetooth for my phone, so I can talk with someone while cleaning my apartment or doing the dishes.

  5. I’ve always seen Facebook as a marketing tool even when ‘you’re not trying to. You’re not 100% yourself on every post or message – just a better idealized version of yourself than the one you can be in a face to face conversation with a person you haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve actually met a considerable amount of new people via Facebook in these last few years, but I wonder which version which version of myself I’ve given them (this version included, lol).

    1. That’s an interesting way to look at it, although I know plenty of people who constantly complain and seem to only post what’s going wrong in their lives. That’s one other reason why I haven’t used Facebook as much as I used to. I just don’t need that kind of drama. I don’t post a lot of personal information on Facebook anymore. Mostly, it’s just a way for me to message with friends.

  6. I started using Facebook as a business tool, when I tried several social media tools in that manner. (BTW, not one works for our business except blogging, so twitter is GONE.)
    Then I found my high school friends (scattered to the far corners) and that made me stay. Hearing what is going on in their lives is fun, and I’ve found people are as shallow or not as they are — so they post broken arms and depression and grandchildren and whatever. I admit to cyberstalking a friend only to find out BEFORE I reconnect if they are right-wing nutjobs. Several were, and that saved me that headache.
    I don’t have any illusions that FB can substitute for real friendship, but will tell you that FB has opened my art world up and allowed me to learn and share with literally thousands of other artists. Of these, I will probably end up as friends with one or two, and probably end up teaching online. BTW, I limit my time (1 hour to do all this kind of stuff) and do this in the morning, and if I had tea with a live friend would leave in a heartbeat.
    I also get to read my “paper” through the places I subscribe to, both in the bloggosphere and in FB.
    Now, finally, my opinion. I think SOME people think cyber friends are real friends. I think those that like to hide will use FB to hide and pretend. And I have risked and made “friends” outside my known circle a few times when we had a group in common, and it enriched my life.
    I do think that cell phones and constant disconnection from the “real world” at all times is very very bad. I see moms texting when they are with their toddlers, friends out and texting, and I am looking forward to the day that they make walking and texting a crime, because I have nearly hit a few young people who stepped out in front of me and never made eye contact nor indicating the seconds before they were about to do so. A judge in LA supporting a driver who hit a pedestrian in a case like this, and I am all for it. They stand and talk on the corner, and you are stopped, then when you think they are not going to move they just whip out in front of you. They are like suicidal squirrels!
    Love your blog, still following . . .

    1. FaceBook, for me, started as an essential tool to communicate with college clubs, events, project groups and even some professors. It quickly became my single form of contact with many people. No one exchanged phone numbers or email addresses… because everyone had FaceBook.

      Moving to a new area can be scary, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook assist in keeping people rooted in where they came from, which hinders them from getting to know the people in their new surroundings. I don’t think anyone logs into Facebook thinking they are participating in real friendships. However, it can be easy to get sucked into it all and cause people to spend more time with old friends on Facebook instead of engaging with new people. On this flip side, reading about everyone’s life can cause people to think they are participating in a friendship with that person, when they really aren’t.

      When it comes to business, I agree. Facebook has so many restrictions now, that it’s impossible for a new business or small business to reach people. Blogging and Twitter work so much better.

    1. It’s like information overload. When access so much that we walk away in a sort of daze. There have been books written on the topic of excessive information and how people might be losing the ability to tell fact from fiction. One of the blessings and curses of the internet and social media is that you can find people who think just like you. If you think, for example, that 9/11 was a huge government conspiracy, you can choose to get all your news and facts from a news source that supports that idea.

  7. I think the natural isolation has less to do with social media specifically and more to do with the internet and technology in general. We have such an increased ability to amuse ourselves with various things that it’s easy to ignore / forget that socialization is a basic need until we wake up one day and feel lonely.

    As far as Facebook specifically, I can think of no better way to maintain social connections. Because of Facebook, I’m able to keep up on the lives of people from high school, from the military, from college, from my old job …. even my ex-husband’s family. I wouldn’t have time to call / write / visit all of them in the absence of Facebook (I tried for a while and failed miserably), so without Facebook I wouldn’t even know what most of these people looked like anymore. It’s really great to see what’s going on with everyone’s lives.

    1. I agree that Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people. It certainly helps me stay in contact with distant family members and old friends. I think it comes down to how you define contact. If you do little else than post about your life and read about others, are you really engaging them? To truly connect with a person, wouldn’t you have to take the effort to engage them in conversation,even if that conversation is over Facebook messenger? Maybe that’s what you mean by staying in contact. I’ve just found that a lot of people now follow family members on Facebook like they follow celebrities. They aren’t people they actually communicate with anymore. They just read up on their life events every week.

      1. “To truly connect with a person, wouldn’t you have to take the effort to engage them in conversation,even if that conversation is over Facebook messenger?”
        Yeah – I guess I assumed that went without saying. I’m always commenting on everyone’ posts, so I see that as having a conversation of sorts.

  8. I started out reading your article thinking I was going to disagree with you completely…. but then you suddenly took the topic toward a turn I didn’t expect and I’m so glad you did.

    That’s the bottom line problem I have with Facebook; it creates a false dichotomy of friendship (or the term you are using ‘socialization’)

    Facebook is nothing more than a tool, and I can’t stand it when people act like tools can be evil or good; they are nothing more than tools, that’s it, nothing more or nothing less.

    But the way so many people USE Facebook tends to be for negative things; Facebook stalking is so common its become ridiculous. I see old dudes in coffee shops looking at the profiles of young girls on Facebook that it creeps me out every time.

    And before Facebook; we couldn’t ‘fake’ socialization. We didn’t lie to ourselves and pretend that people we never lengthy letters to, or called on the phone, were our ‘close’ friends. But now people are using Facebook to lie to themselves. They think these people are close friends…. when in reality, Facebook simply makes it ‘easy’ to be friends with people that we don’t want to make much effort with.

    Like you said, its easy to write a short sentence to someone’s status update…. it doesn’t require much effort.

    Bottom line; I still like twitter better, and I still don’t completely know why

    1. I LOVE Twitter because it generates more ‘real’ conversation. Maybe it’s that nothing you say is private. But, I almost never talk to people I know in real life on Twitter. It’s almost always bloggers. So, I think Twitter is just another tool for my blogging obsession. ^_^.

      As far as ‘Facebook as a tool’ goes, it is a great way to stay in touch with distant people whom you would have otherwise lost touch with. While that is fine, if it starts to replace human interaction, it becomes a significant problem.

  9. This is a great conversation starter for the place social media holds in our lives. I like the comment above about using it in moderation. I value my Facebook for what it offers, but don’t expect it to meet me for coffee when I’m having a rough day. It has a place and a purpose, but should always be balanced with reasonable expectations of what it can provide. And I love how you wrapped up with encouragement to get out and meet real people in real time. It’s much more difficult to put up a front and always reply with just the perfect words when we are face to face, versus having a delete button and editing tools at our disposal..

    1. It really is crazy. I didn’t have a lot of friends in middle school, but of the ones I did have, I had most of their phone numbers memorized. I think I even knew most of their email addresses. Now, I know very few. My phone memorizes phone numbers for me and social media allows me to contact them in many different ways. I don’t have any method of contact memorized anymore.

  10. Yep. I have a problem with Facebook when I am “friends” with someone who does not acknowledge me in person. I also have a problem with Facebook when people say things on the site they would not say in person (usually unkind things). Okay, I guess I have a problem with how people use Facebook, not the site itself. 😛

    1. Luckily, I don’t have a huge problem with that. I do have my share of high school and college friends who I haven’t seen in years but who I am still friends with. There were a handful of people who kept posting horrid stuff on Facebook, but I blocked them from my feed (you can block people from your feed without unfriending them). I’m very careful what I do and say on Facebook, now, especially stuff that relates to politics.

  11. I think you’re right. The main issue is balancing time on the computer and away from it. Social media is a great tool for staying in touch with old friends and also for finding people that share our interests from anywhere in the world as sometimes the people physically around us do not. The key is to not spend all our time on social media, but rather use it as a stepping stone to connect in real life with those we can that share hobbies, interests, a place of work, etc.

    1. I agree. I imagine it can be hard if you don’t live near any of the friends you make on line. There are some interests that have such a small fanbase you need to live near a city to find a group. If you are in a small town and are the only one interested in anime, for example, you can get far too used to focusing on online relationships. Then, when you finally do have the freedom to move to the city, you find yourself more comfortable with online communication than off line because it’s what you know. It isn’t right, but I’ve seen stuff like that happen. A person has to want real life friendships. They need the drive to move beyond their computer screen.

  12. I helped write a sermon on this recently. Facebook came in my first year of university, and after uni, my wife and I moved to a regional centre, 2hrs from the capital. It’s true that FB helps me keep in contact with older friends, so I make less of an effort with new friends close to where I live, but it does mean that I connect with people over shared interests. Someone I’ve just met at a friend’s house will add me, I’ll comment on their post, well chat, several months later they’ll be staying in our guest bedroom and going out to brunch with us.

    FB means that we keep in touch with people for different reasons. And I know I go out for brunch and conventions and dinners much more frequently with FB as a coordinating tool. There are so many people I see in the flesh that I wouldn’t have kept up with without it.

    1. I think that is where Facebook really shines. In college, Facebook was the best coordinating tool around. I still use it here and there to plan birthday parties and such. It’s nice because almost everyone has Facebook. We don’t have to exchange email addresses or phone numbers to plan out gettogethers if we just connect on Facebook.

      It just dawned on me that Facebook could be an effective screening tool. Before you give someone personal information like a phone number, you can chat with them on Facebook and figure out who they are.

  13. You nailed it. 🙂 I found old friends, missing family members, military buddies….it’s like anything else. Be responsible with it. I found “the girl that got away”….I didn’t friend her, but saw my What If scenario….now I am inspired to write about that. 🙂

    1. Yep! I saw that happen right away when my parents joined. Sometimes, it’s nice just to stay up to date with family even if you don’t really know them. For example, my grandmother sister’s son’s son (not sure what you call that relation) is over seas. She doesn’t know him well, but she knows her sister who talks about her grandson a lot. With Facebook, she can still sort of be a part of his life. Maybe that’s creepy to some people, but I don’t think it’s any different than tracking down a family history. People know who their extended family is now, even if they rarely communicate.

      I hope you do write about your What If scenario. I’m sure it’s be interesting.

    2. Yep! I saw that happen right away when my parents joined. Sometimes, it’s nice just to stay up to date with family even if you don’t really know them. For example, my grandmother sister’s son’s son (not sure what you call that relation) is over seas. She doesn’t know him well, but she knows her sister who talks about her grandson a lot. With Facebook, she can still sort of be a part of his life. Maybe that’s creepy to some people, but I don’t think it’s any different than tracking down a family history. People know who their extended family is now, even if they rarely communicate.

      I hope you do write about your What If scenario. I’m sure it’d be interesting.

  14. I like your analysis! I’ve read through a few things on your page and I am impressed by your writing and thinking. Most of what people send me is poetry, but I’ve been dying to publish some essays. Maybe you’ve got something for me?

    I’m Tyler, one of the editors for Bard Publishing, and we’re looking for contributors from outside our immediate area (currently, the Monterey Bay, California area) to publish on our blog and eventually in print editions of our zine “Indecent”. Our goal is to build a community of writers, artists and like minds in order to take over the world, or something. At the very least, we just want to hear and be heard, and to allow others a space to do the same. To inform the populace that it’s time to step up our game. If you’d like to contribute anything to the community, hop on over to our blog, check out what we’re about, and you’ll find all the info you need to submit work and whatnot.

    Everything is a Construction / Buildings can be Broken,

    Tyler

      1. We lean toward the social/political, but really, what we want is for people to send us stuff they feel a sense of urgency about. So please, feel free to send us whatever you’d like! A print edition of the Zine will be coming out in May, so we’ll consider anything we get in the next week or so for that, but either way I’m sure it’ll get to the blog and get in a future publication, if not this one.

  15. Maybe if you wrote this years ago I would have agreed but social media has been an amazing experience for me. Flickr built friendship and a supportive community I could never have found in my city. The internet is so full of niches, it caters to exactly what you want. I wanted to be a portrait fine art photographer, and so I became part of that community.

    Years later I wanted to become part of the blogging community, so I blogged. My communication skills developed further. Then I wanted to get into the YouTube community and it doesn’t matter if I know these people in person.

    These people are real and authentic, and it’s debatable whether they are more authentic online than in person. The internet gives people a means to communicate in a different way. If I’m bad at speaking, blogging may be the best way to communicate my thoughts.

    Thus, what follows is more authentic friendships.

    Anyways, I digress. I would argue that social media sites like Facebook cultivate a different type of friendship. Something people in the past couldn’t have fathomed. It gave people a way to be selective and choose their crowd. If you want access to all the goth kids, then you can make more friends online than you could sorting through people in person.

    Whether the ability to be selective is beneficial or not is a matter of opinion. Social media just generates this ability to be selective. It’s like your potential friends now have resumes and you have more of an option to pick and choose through the crowd.

    In regards to attention span, there’s a great book called “The Shallows” which talks about what the internet is doing to our brain. A good part of it is about attention span – check it out sometime if you have a moment!

    1. I’ll have to look at that book. I agree that social media is great. It really gets a bad rap. The problem is in how we use it. Using it to meet new people is great, especially if you go on to meet those people in person. However, if using social media prevents you from having meaningful relationships, then there’s a problem. People have their opinions, but I’m not sure if there have been any studies that compare online relationships to off line ones. They may be more authentic or that authenticity may depend on how you choose to use the internet. I guess, what I’m saying here is that I’m not sure if online friendships are equal to off line ones.

      1. I think a lot of it has to do with how a person uses the internet. The friendships that I’ve built online have usually been for a single reason: they’re an artist, they know people, they model and could work in my photos. When you meet someone in person and become friends you have to accept that person fully. Online, we’re only subject to the characteristics the other person chooses to display. As you wrote in your article. What is the primary reason you meet people online? Do you meet them in real life? Most of the models I’ve taken pictures of have come from online. Photographers and bloggers are a little more rare to meet. Have you met any other bloggers in person?

        1. I have met a blogger in real life and it was great fun! I’d love to do it again. However, I do not use social media primarily for making real life friendships. Instead, I use it to inform myself and discuss topics with like minded people. At the end of the day, social media isn’t the problem or the solution. How we use it determines whether it works for us or against us.

          1. That’s definitely true! Social media is just a tool. Whether it’s used to detriment or benefit is up to the individual. Again, thank you for the post! It’s nice to run across your blog TK! 🙂

  16. And the funny thing is, is that profile pictures are never ‘real’ life like. Nobody puts on a photo of how they look first thing in the morning. I certainly wouldn’t – EEK. I hear you in that we know it’s an illusion. I actually don’t keep up a lot with the different social media realms. I guess you can say that I use them more as tools for business or to get a point across or share something. I don’t engage in conversations much, unless it’s with a very specific purpose. I guess I just never have time to.
    Great post TK 🙂

    1. If we take away the blog, I use Facebook for coordinating with friends, Twitter for news, Pinterest for recipes and Tumblr for fun. I guess that doesn’t seem like a lot to me, especially because I am usually doing those activities at work during small breaks. Now, if we add in the blog, I have a lot of social media just to spread it around. Even then, they are a tool to promote my blog.

    1. I agree that it can be great. It’s all in how you use it. You can choose to use it to stay in touch with old friends as you move around and make new friends, or you can choose to only socialize with friends on Facebook. That can create a lonely feeling when the computer closes.

      1. Yeah, I’ve seen that as well. I wonder how much is a result of the person’s personality. Would a naturally social person join facebook and become asocial? I tend to think, though I have no evidence, that it’s already lonely people who feel lonely when the computer closes. The computer just provides a reprieve from that loneliness while he or she comments on pictures or updates a status or writes a blog.
        Maybe I’m projecting.

        1. And we can all be lonely. Like, when we move to a new place. We can be lonely a miss the people we left behind. Then, we have a choice. We can spend all our time on social media investing in old friendships or we can get out there and make new friends. So, I wonder if part of the reason it’s hard for adults to make new friends now is because we use social media to invest too much into old friendships. It’s not that those friendships aren’t important, it’s just that they shouldn’t hold us back.

          1. I don’t think the difficulty of making friends as an adult is a new phenomenon, unless there are some statistics I haven’t seen. Things get busier as we get older. I’m not going to concerts three times a week anymore. I don’t have classes full of forced contact (since last month). It’s all sort of natural. People get married, move away, settle down, stop all sorts of activities that used to lead to making friends. Is this because of facebook? I don’t know, it possibly plays a role, but I’m not convinced it’s a very large one.

            1. I agree. Making friends as an adult has always been hard. I think where social media comes in is that it can make it harder if you use it to focus on old relationships and never venture out to make new friends.

  17. I completely agree with the block statement above and post. It seems like social media has become a necessary evil, a way to connect or stay connected with others who we can relate to because in our environments we either do not have the time or everyone else is busy or far away. Although I do not plan to get rid of my Twitter or Facebook, I plan to get out there to meet people face to face. Thanks for this post!

    1. I love social media and I know it has a lot of positive aspects. I use many different sites to keep up to date with current news and whether while I’m at work. If I didn’t have a desk job, I bet my social media usage would be limited to Facebook and Twitter as well.

  18. Really liked your last sentence. I have long been wondering why I dont make friends as an adult. I moved to a new city about four years ago, and I still cant think of a friend I have made here. They are all good acquaintances. Maybe remaining in touch with old friends over facebook is far easier than socializing, going out and meeting neighbors or entertaining them at home.

  19. I have mixed feelings about Facebook. Like a lot of the others here, I use it to stay in touch with people that I’ve met along the way. It is also really good for following various sites, hobbies and interests. Before I started blogging, I used FB to share photos and general blurb. Now I tend to blog it instead.

    1. I’m with you. I used Facebook way more in college. Now, it’s just for people I’ve met along the way and various interests. It’s not nearly as important as it used to be. My blog has changed a lot of how I use social media, as well.

  20. Reblogged this on Open Jotter and commented:
    Interesting read. I’d been suspecting much of this for a little while, but then again it is not something new in Social Media.
    Back in 1961 Tony Hancock starred in a radio play “The Radio Ham” where he said something along the lines of “I’ve got friends all over the world. None in London, but friends all over the world.”

    1. Thanks for the reblog! That bit about Tony Hancock is interesting and just goes to show you that social media isn’t an anomaly. Any form of media can connect us with the world and/or detach us from it.

  21. In past decade, social media has become an indispensable part of our lives.It enables us to link to our friends around the world but at the same time its destroying the healthy habits of many,especially teenagers. People more active on social media are often socially challenged in real lives says research.
    Thus like any other scientific tool it must be used with utmost care and its totally upto you if you want it to be a blessing or a curse.

    1. Exactly… although I wonder if social media makes people socially challenged or if socially challenged people are more likely to use social media in excess.

  22. As a nation, social media has divided us. We are far more brazen behind the computer than in real life. If you don’t agree with me you’ll delete me, or most people will. I’m an ultra-conservative. When I was your age, I had a mind like yours, wanting to debate everything that walked. (That includes the animals, I wanted to understand them.)

    Until the social media came into our lives the vast majority if my friends were far-left or at least left leaning liberals, yet we got along so well we would have died to defend the other. We had an imaginary line in the sand and we did NOT cross over it. On the other side of the line was the deep thoughts and emotions that present one’s personal, social, economic and religious views; the entire culture. Not crossing that line was called respect.

    Having respect for one another, despite, cultural association, politics or social beliefs, made us civil and able to communicate with one another with integrity. Social media has in large part destroyed that. We can no longer communicate as civil human beings. Few are willing anymore. There is little desire. Someone like you, TK, at your age, I find rare as a politician that tells the truth or uranium ore or radium. The evil uses often outweigh the righteous benefits.

    People today seldom leave their safety zone of common thoughts with like minds, and when they do they are often signaled out as a member of a particular opposition group rather than the individual they are. It is a shift from humanistic behavior to animalistic behavior and pack mentality such as that of the predator.

    The ability to debate and discuss topics and issues in a civil and constructive manner is indeed challenging for most people today. It’s even more challenging to fine someone to even read text of long content or to communicate with those of opposite opinions through comments without personal attacks, typos from emotional loss of control or downright offensive assaults. More often than not they simply delete and move on. No one is concerned with understanding others outside their circle of conformists. If you do not comply with their meaning or definition, you are rejected from the pack or attacked and devoured.

    In real life, we are less brazen than behind a computer screen, but still less respectful than when I was your age. I applaud your intelligence to seek still more knowledge about the world around you and the one you (we) call self.

    I am of the exact opposite of many of the things you stand for, yet we have plenty of common pleasures that I could easily communicate with someone like you and still remain civil. As stated, that is extremely rare today, and was prevalent before the arrival of the social media. I applaud your efforts, sincerely so. Best wishes in your future debates, I hope it is a genuine learning process for you AND for the ones you engage. May your hunt reap great fruits to savor.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. I have a handful of conservative friends and coworkers. Half my parents are ultra conservative and I usually get along with all of them. You just have to know what topics to avoid. I do my best not to posts too much on social media that has a political slant. People get very angry very fast and I just don’t want to be a part of that conversation. It’s not that I’m not open to opposing views. What gets to me are the false numbers presented as facts. Or, people just rant about nothing. It’s all too much. It’s a shame that social media has divided you and your friends. I would think, if they valued your friendship, they would make a point to avoid that topic on social media as well as in person.

  23. Your point is well taken, TK. I think there is something about the social pages that encourage some people to raise comments on certain subjects, for whatever reason, that they should otherwise avoid. That’s true. At the same time they could be seeking praise or the will to win a fight. It’s not just me, I have been a user of the Internet since its inception, many people experience the same division. I agree, there is way too much inflated views. Some is accidental and some is intentional. I do extensive research. One of the things I find common is the alarming number of times an original piece of work is copied (often word for word, such as copy and paste) by numerous additional bloggers, second, third, forth generation, and mainstream media reporters. And you are correct, if the first report is in error, they all get it wrong and we wind up with an ignorant society.

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