THE IRONIC 'ALONENESS' OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Let's face it, we all love Social Media. The ability to "Reach Out" and not touch someone is more pervasive than ever, and actually reaching out and touching seems fraught with more and more complications. Every time we leave the computer. There is nothing simpler than having an entirely vague, anonymous & platonic relationship with someone on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Reddit, Pinterest, or the tens of thousands of our favourite forums seems to be an acceptable station in life. When your friends ask you, “Whatchya do last night?’. Replying, “I spent a couple hours on Twitter and Facebook, had some coffee and went to bed with my cat.”, seems perfectly acceptable. Forget the fact that you were asked to go to the club or bar with some “buddies” from work, or the gym, or your Brother, but you had a fun time… DIDN’T YOU??? These online entities you call ‘friends’ or you ‘follow’ share the same ideas , morals, time constraints, don’t they? Philosophies? Hobbies? It's not like going for a coffee or sharing a ride home from work... you can't logoff when you've that deep of a commitment. Social Media comes with no "Baggage", and it really does seem that it comes with little or no Caveats.
Social media has certainly redefined and expanded the absolute number of human social interactions. A qualitative look at how we use these media to interact with others, however, sheds light on an ironic fallout from its use: social media can actually enhance physical isolation, loneliness and detachment from others.
Socially Prolific, but Physically Isolated. While our personal social interaction with others has increased, we spend more and more time being physically isolated. We share our lives through a media that we can’t fully comprehend; with people that actually makes solitary experience seem bearable and completely enjoyable, because it has the approval of everyone you know.
As traditional physical interaction is decreased, did you know or were you aware that you are being increasingly replaced by virtual ‘Friend-World’? This decline in physical connectivity has an amazing impact in how we comport ourselves with others. What would have hospitalized you a decade ago as asymptomatic of an impending sociopathic or psychopathic collapse, is actually being accepted as normal behaviour. Allow me to ask you this; ‘When was the last time that you walked the sidewalk, and somebody actually smiled at you in passing?’ Think of these two possibilities… 1) They weren’t looking at you because they were talking into their cell-phones or texting or playing an app... OR 2) They didn’t have one out. I’m not excluding looking down at their iPods, iPads, or iPhones. Any device will do… MP3 players, Beautiful Watches… anything. It seems that our ‘technological defenses’ are cross-overs, or comfortable accessories to our “Socially Prolific, but Physically Isolated World” that we have, in all likelihood, allowed into our lives, even if it was an unrecognized stranger, or the “way you were brought up”. You’ve allowed it never the less.
MORE TO COME…