The Social Media Dilemma

With almost everyone owning a smartphone, social media seems to be inevitable in our world. Status updates of miniscule meaning happening at multiple times throughout the day have settled in as the norm. Without your phone people feel naked, lost, alone. With people surrounding us all we tend to feel alone without our devices. This dilemma has led me to having no social media. I feel that social media has caused our society to forget how to indulge in real conversation, similar to when you buy a coffee to stay and get it in a to go cup, nobody seems to have time to sit down and “catch up”. I suppose there is no need to catch up anymore with social media because everyone already is caught up on what everyone has been up too.

I grew up in a family where we weren’t aloud to have our phone at the dinner table. We would bring “Conversation Cards”(available at your local bookstore) to start wild debates. If you look around restaurants today, people are constantly on their phone, as if what they are looking at is life or death, that it can’t wait for one more hour once dinner is finished. You see little kids who have iPads in front of them, to distract them for the hours that you sit at the table because parents don’t want to have to deal with them during dinner. What kind of society are we developing? One that won’t know how to handle an interview? One that won’t be able to take clients out? One that finds comfort behind his bright light computer screen rather than the open fresh air? Conversation is an art of some sorts, being able to learn about someone, on a personal level rather than a cyber one. There is a reason I enjoy going for a walk with my grandfather, and its not to talk about who he’s added on Facebook. It’s to learn about what India is like, and how it was teaching overseas. The idea of looking up to someone, following them around and having them talk to you as their mentor lives and dies in conversation and time spent together without being on your device, having a mentor is important in life and with your phone in front of your face you might walk right past yours.

Social media has created an environment where there is nothing left to talk about. Everything has been told about your day, and everyone knows exactly where you’ve been, whom you’ve been with, and most importantly that you had a blast while you were there. Social media has given a false declaration that everyone seems to be living life a little bit better than you. It is a highlight reel of some sorts. It is a constant reminder of someone who is taking the vacation you want to be on, or living in the house you want to live in. It’s a sheltered life now, where you upload your pictures rather than throw them into a binder, and your friends look at them alone rather than with you to explain the meaning behind the art.

My last tick with social media is the idea of having someone load pictures of you without your permission. I understand that you don’t have to be tagged in the photo but the bottom line is that the photo is on the Internet now, and people can see it. For job interviews I know that looking at Facebook is a common thing. I personally feel that you are better off to keep the skeletons in the closet rather than bringing them to your interview in a suit and tie. There is the idea of leaving things to the imagination about people, your view of someone can become very skewed after seeing a social media post that turns you off, for all anyone knows it truly was just a bad night for you and you really aren’t like that. However those words have been said far too many times for an employer to believe you.

I understand that social media is a great tool to keep in contact with friends from all over the world; it is a great marketing tool for businesses and yourself in the business environment, especially through places like LinkedIn. However for my own personal use I have had more bad experiences than good and I tend to believe in doing some of this the old fashioned way.

Ben Gallacher

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