Is the Social Media really “Social”?

So, let me get this straight. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter…even blogging (an electronic diary of a person’s thoughts, interests, beefs…created to be read by whoever will read it) are supposed ways to connect us all together?

Interesting.

I guess, the benefit of the social media is to make this big ball that we all live on feel a little more intimate allowing us to communicate with people elsewhere in the world.

But that’s just geography.

How can sitting in front of a computer screen all alone with its glow washing over your face, typing a series electronic digits that form words and sentences into a machine that sends your message off to someone else; in some cases a complete stranger who has decided to follow you because of something you said, be a way of socially connecting? (I know…a major run-on-sentence)

Maybe my 45 years on this planet are beginning to show…or just call me “old school”. To me, the word “social” means to engage or communicate with someone else. The best way I know how to socialize is to do it face-to-face.

The english dictionary gives several definitions of the word “social”. However, the one that resonates most with me is “living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community”.

Is it possible to live or be disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community” solely through an electronic medium?

Can you tell through words on a screen what someone is feeling or experiencing? We have all heard the expression, “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. Sometimes what you see in the eyes or in body language and facial expressions can be a more effective way of understanding the person with whom you are communicating with.

As a kid, “socials” at school or camp were dances where boys would be on one side of the room and the girls on the other. Eventually, we would get out on the dance floor and dance. Sometimes boys would dance with girls or sometimes girls would huddle together and dance along to an anthemic song like “Girls just want to have fun”, or we would just hang out together and talk and gossip. Ultimately, though, it was the uber-slow song “Stairway to Heaven” that would end the night. The girl that you really had the crush on would be the last dance of the night which was always never long enough.
We were interacting with one another; honing our social skills and forming relationships that in some cases would last a life time.

My older daughter, who is 13, is a Facebook and texting addict. She can spend a whole day with her friends at school…but when she gets home, would much rather text or chat with them on Facebook instead of talking to them on the phone (what I remember doing as a kid).

I don’t get it. How can such a solitary activity be called social?

Our ability to verbally express ourselves is slowly being eroded in the same way that my penmanship skills have all but evaporated because the keyboard has overtaken the pen. My penmanship, which used to be amazing in school, now most resembles the scribblings of a doctor writing a prescription.

As a parent and a member of the human race, I am concerned that social skills (human interaction) are disintegrating through the very thing that was supposedly designed to aid us (the computer). I remember once watching a sci-fi movie and seeing an image of a brain and brain stem hooked up to a computer screen. The image was freaky as hell. As a kid I thought no such thing could ever exist…it’s in the movies, right?

Our kids are spending more and more hours then ever before in front of their computers, Blackberrys and IPhones or just zoning-out in front of the television. When they do come out of hibernation to “socialize” with us, they do so in short, “sound-bites”…very similar to the abbreviated way they communicate with each other on-line (lol, omg, lmfao…etc.)

What happened to the good old days of social clubs or getting involved with sports or after-school clubs as a way of meeting friends or “socializing”. Even in business, modern-day “networking” is still done the old-fashioned way…”pressing the flesh” and getting in front of someone.

Would you ever ask for a raise through an email or text message? WTF!!

I think that maybe the social media should be renamed the “anti-social” media?

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About I'm Just A Dad

Stephen Gosewich is just a Dad (he is a former Enlightened Male but decided to change the name because when you search Enlightened Male, "other...wink, wink" are displayed. He spends his days during the week as a working stiff. At all other times, he just enjoys hanging out with his best friend and wife and their two very active and inspiring daughters.
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