On Social Media:

Don’t we think it’s a little strange that, in a world of nearly seven and a half billion (7 383 900 000) people, so many of us feel like we’re all alone?

Advertisements

I’ve always found the term “social media” to be a curious one. 

Admittedly, if you break the word down into its respective body parts – “social” and “media” – it’s a word that makes perfect sense. Yet it’s not its pieces that make it a puzzle. 

The term feels like a misnomer. It doesn’t feel right. I look at social media and I fail to see anything social about it.

Media is not an inherently social entity. From newspapers to Fox News, there is no social interaction actually involved. 

We may feel as though we’re socially interacting. Like we’re connecting with that horoscope columnist who just really seems to “get” us, or the newscaster covering our sports team who seems to always agree with our opinion of the new head coach.


Ron Burgundy: One of the Only News Anchors to Truly Understand Us, San Francisco. [Image Credit: Anchorman]
Ron Burgundy: One of the Only News Anchors to Truly Understand Us, San Francisco.
[Image Credit: Anchorman]

But we’re not.

We’re still sitting alone at the kitchen table, keeping our eyes on the newspaper while we hurriedly force down the coffee we burnt before work.

We’re still messily finishing that crossword on the train with the stranger in a brown suit next to us as our only companion. And no, it doesn’t count as social interaction because we asked him for a four-lettered word for a famous son of Chronos.

The media doesn’t want to interact with us. It wants us to read, to listen, and to watch their version of what’s happening all around you. It wants to tell us what perception of reality to accept. 

Social media, in turn, has taken us one slippery step further down this path of human isolation.

Social media has stolen from us our innate love of society; we have never been more antisocial than we are this very moment.

There was a time, before bullet trains and water spraying jet packs (which are pretty awesome for the record), when our nearest neighbours were fifteen kilometres away and the fastest method of travelling was on horseback. Yet we called on each other weekly, if not daily, to fulfil that natural desire to truly interact with other human beings.


Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”  – Aristotle, The Politics.


Fast forward to today, and I haven’t called on my neighbour since before the first Jurassic Park movie came out.

Social media has negatively affected every (formerly) social activity.

I see us capturing moments – beautiful sunrises and breathtaking full moons – through Instagram filters instead of capturing them with our eyes and keeping them in our souls.

We write those moments as Snapchat stories instead of writing them across our hearts, as part of our own stories that are constantly unfolding.

We use the check in button on Facebook to let our friends know where we are and what we’re doing, instead of checking in with a call or catching up with a visit.

We’ve mastered messaging with “abreeves” but forgotten how to carry a face-to-face conversation.

We live tweet sports events from our couch instead of taking a road trip to catch a live sporting event with some friends.

We text acquaintances while we sit around a table with our actual friends.

We don’t notice the love of our life next to us in the cafe because our eyes are down on our phone as we try to find love on Tinder. They walk in and out of our lives while we’re swiping right and left.

We’ve exchanged real friends for followers and lovers for “matches.”


And yet, don’t we think it’s a little strange that, in a world of nearly seven and a half billion (7 383 900 000) people, so many of us feel like we’re alone?

It’s because we are alone. Every social media platform offers an additional layer to a wall we’re building between ourselves and those around us. Another filter. More paint on our masks.

We’re given the means to limit and skew the images of ourselves that we put out there, and everyone else is doing the same. It becomes a terrifying idea to show people who we really are, so we don’t. Everyone tries to be like everyone else.

We’re creating a world where no one will truly know anyone.


I think that’s a tragic thing, because the greatest protectors of the beautiful uniqueness and natural individuality we possess as humans should be all of us, together.

Governments and, further back, religions have always feared and denounced the individual; the threat to the status quo. 

And yet, individuals such as Copernicus, da Vinci, Tesla, Picasso, and Einstein did amazing things by questioning that same status quo, by letting their unique thoughts and feelings be their compass. 

They didn’t follow tradition, and we celebrated them for it.

Self-Portrait (1512) by Leonardo da Vinci.
Self-Portrait (1512) by Leonardo da Vinci.

I’m afraid we’re starting to lose that. We’re falling into line.

Not because of fear or oppression – those things could never break our powerful spirit – but because of distraction.


The irony of it all is that I’m communicating this via an outlet that was only born in the age of social media, and sharing it on multiple social media platforms.

I think our advances in technology and our ability to connect with one another is astounding

I’m thankful for Skype, Instagram, and other means of keeping in touch with all of those that I love and miss at home.

I just think it’s important that in our quest to be more connected, we don’t severe our connection to each other; that we don’t become the snake that eats its own tail.

Recognize each other. Appreciate someone when they do something differently, wear something strange, or embrace their authentic self in any way at all. 

You’ll find people start encouraging you to do the same.

And, my God, that will be a beautiful thing.

Be good to each other,

– MG

14 thoughts on “On Social Media:

    1. I think you’re absolutely right about social media being aspirational, but I also think that it really depends on the platform when considering what most posts aspire to.

      I couldn’t, in good faith, agree with you that many of the facebook or instagram posts I see yearn for anything more that shallow validation or to spread hate / consumerist values.

      But then again, that’s the people I know / follow, which is obviously different for you. I guess the variableness of social media as a broad term makes it a tough discussion for us!

      As always Dave, thanks for reading and for the comment, it’s appreciated!

      Like

      1. Yeah, I think my cooling relationship with facebook drove me to set up a blog, which is where I’ve found thoughtful, constructive people like your good self. Overall, social media is no better than, well, people – and some platforms certainly attract those with unpleasant motives. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. There are elements of this with which I wholeheartedly agree. We are becoming superficially connected but increasing hermetic in reality due to social media. However, for me, it’s the way you use it that can make it worthwhile. I dance old damces- lindy hop and the like. I use social media to dance and make new friends and find events when I’m in a new. And when we get to a dance- sociable people are there in droves. Men walk up to girls and ask for a dance; chat with friends and new friends. Women do the same and it’s wonderful, safe and sociable. I couldn’t do this without social media.

    Like

  2. I agree completely that social media can be used for things that bring us closer together. As I mentioned in my post, I think its not only astounding but I am often very thankful for it. It’s not all bad, and it’s definitely how we use the technology that we’re blessed with that makes all of the difference.

    What I veiled as a siege on social media was more of a reflection of the death of the individual, the death of embracing ourselves as such, and social media’s role in it all. It may not be true for you, but I saw it in myself and currently see it in an overwhelming majority of people today too.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciated your input!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Being off social media aside from this site and on the rare occasion tumblr has been the best thing I ever did. There used to be a time when you left school or work to come home to be alone, no one was looking in on you. Then social media happened, anyone can stalk, see what you’re doing, who you’re with, where you’re living. And it’s like people thrive off the attention by giving away every detail of their personal life! I got off Facebook because I was too opinionated and social platforms showed me the true nature of how fucked up people actually are, made me lose hope that there were no intelligent people except for the handful that you randomly see in comments. I’ve noticed though that a lot of intelligent people aren’t on Facebook in general. Employers look at it to spy and see what you’re like, advertisers can see exactly what people want. Fuck that, social media is the ULTIMATE tool for oppression, it’s getting people to let their guard down and hand out information by their own free will.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good ideas. I’ve just done a post about something very similar. I’m exploring patience and how the idea of being late (and it being seen as a bad thing) is all about the kind of control you spoke of. Let me know what you think.

      Like

    2. Hey again!
      I definitely agree that social media can have drastic effects on our ability to live private lives.

      It’s also somewhat shocking that it is a price people are willing to pay only to have themselves emerged in a fake world of illusion and false reflections.

      I’m glad you’ve removed yourself from this lens, and are exploring the world through human, unbiased eyes!

      Like

      1. Just tell me if my comments are too much, I can never tell and I’ll just keep posting my unwanted opinions.
        It has been having its downside though, as I refuse to watch mainstream media and have been a bit slack on researching news (…) I have not a clue what’s been going on in my own country let alone the world. We changed our prime minister a month ago! My mums always got something to tell me when I visit though, ha.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your comments are more than welcome here!

          Even if you were watching mainstream media, it must be taken with a grain of salt. It’s nearly impossible these days to differentiate between the embellished, the truth, and the lies. At least knowing the bias of the new station (conservative, liberal, democrat, republican, etc) helps when you’re trying to make sense of it all.

          At the end of the day, we gotta chase the winds that resonate with us most!

          Liked by 1 person

Enlighten Me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s