Five Problems with Social Media

I’ve been thinking a lot about completing one of those thirty day challenges that litter the interwebs. I write every day on my new novel, or some other project in the works, but I think it’s important to flex this muscle in other ways too. Sometimes the simple act of completing a small piece of writing in a day can be very uplifting, as  apposed to the ongoing battle with writing a manuscript.  The only problem is that they are either A. to juvenile or B. overly complex. Why can’t there be one right in the middle? Well I found one that is sort-of in the middle of that, or at least I’m going to attempt to make it so. The fact is that I might start this and while I have not doubt I’ll finish it, it might be more like the 60 or 90 day challenge. Who knows, maybe I’ll surprise us both. So here goes nothing…

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Day 1: Five Problems With Social Media.

I was always taught from a young age never to air dirty laundry in public. In fact, The Eagles sing a song about this very thing. One major problem with Social Media is the vain notion that every person online wants to hear about your daily struggles with life and love. The fact of the matter is that most of the time people only want to know about happy and important life events. The part about your boyfriend/girlfriend cheating on you with the world and then the other part about threatening them publicly, well it’s probably not something that you should be sharing on social media. I hate, hate, hate to be the one to tell you this, but it’s true.

Which leads me to my next problem: Bullies, Trolls, Big Meanies. Whatever you call them, they run rapid on social media. I read about a study done on children with regards to social media. As humans (the odd sociopath not included here) we are programmed to respond to other human faces. For example, when we hurt someone we see the pain on their faces, the signals that we’ve caused harm and our brains and bodies are programmed to feel remorse. Weather or not someone apologizes is neither here nor there, but the fact is that in some small part of their brain they feel guilty about their actions. HOWEVER when said mean actions are done via social media, there is no face-to-face interaction. The body and mind don’t have the opportunity to see the hurt inflicted and no lessons are learned. In turn the bully wins and the children of this next generation loose. The issue spans far beyond children but I think you understand the idea. Unfortunately internet trolls hide behind their computers and hurt real people with real lives without ever having to face the consequence of their actions. This is more then a social media problem, it’s also a technology problem. With the good comes the bad.

Okay stepping off my soap box. Number three… Back in my day when email was still new, there were massive spam emails that would say something like “If you don’t forward this email to every single person in the universe than at midnight the love of your life will die and you cat will be eaten by zombies and the world will end because you didn’t believe that sending a stupid email could prevent all that chaos.” So now in the age of social media, those same ignorant emails are being pushed to the world only they are now in the form of ‘posts’ or ‘tweets’. I really hate them. I feel sorry for every person who posts them with some flicker of fear that they really will be raped by a ghost in their sleep if they don’t.

Number four: I once read a theory about the zombie apocalypse and how it had already taken effect without anyone being aware in the form of technology. It is crazy weird how true it is. Everyone has a smart phone, which lets face it, is a mini computer that keeps us connected to the social networking world. Everyone is too afraid they might miss something cool or important that they all stayed plugged in checking 100 times a day. I hate to say it but I’m no exception to this rule. I’m addicted to my email like no tomorrow. I recently started to understand why Twitter is so fantastic. It doesn’t change the fact that we are all glued to mini black screens as though our life depends on them. One of my favorite ‘games’ to play when I go out to eat with friends involves stacking our phones face down in the center of the table. Whoever reaches for their phone first has to pay for everyone’s meal. Let’s just say it’s quite effective at forcing us to enjoy one another instead of virtual reality.

Lastly, I find the whole online social media persona thing a double edged sword. The thing is, I find that people fit into one of two groups. They are either A. so outwardly themselves that they have to block their boss, coworkers, family, and certain friends from seeing everything on their profiles for fear of judgment. Lets face it, we’ve all woken up from a long bender and had to delete a post, untag photos, and hope that our ex doesn’t check their email/voice-mail. Or B. They take the opposite rout and are more polished, business like, professional online. There is nothing wrong with this, I find that more often than not I take this rout. But it leaves something to be desired. There is that old saying, you can be anyone you want to be online. Maybe this whole problem stems from the fact that as humans we rarely wear the same mask to every person we know. There’s the person we take on when we’re around an old college or high school friend, the person we are at work, with kids, or family. I guess the same rules apply online.

Of course I still use social media, and there are a lot of things I love about it too, as you can see in my links to above to every account I have. I love the way it enables me to stay connected to the world and to my readers. I enjoy the whole ‘networking’ aspect of it. I’m a sucker for nearly every nerdy post as well, and I’m a bit of a “like” whore. I guess that like most other things in life, social media is good in moderation.

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