Breaking News! Social media is destroying humanity! Okay, perhaps it isn’t breaking news. And maybe it hasn’t destroyed it completely. But, the extent of my statement really depends on clarifying some definitions of news, destroy, or social. Let us take a look at those definitions and see what we end up with!
News reporting agencies can be funny entities. They are often the very heralds of doom and gloom, and yet thoroughly pride themselves as being the “first” to bring it to you. How thoughtful. Yet in this day and age of information demand, we clamor at every source we can to stay informed and aware. As many of you know, I am one such junkie. I often find myself confused when I bring a news item to a conversation and no one is aware of the story. Really? I thought everyone was in-the-know about the feral cat problem in Hindustan! (I jest…somewhat…)
But our sources of information are missing out on a really big story. That there seems to be a lack of awareness of the degradation of human interaction around us. “Social” has been morphing from how we interacted with one another into a cold, barren way. It is caving in to the world of electronics. The explosion of social media websites is nothing new. From the advents of My Space to the highly popular Facebook and Twitter, there is certainly no shortage of internet places to “socialize”. Major companies like Google and Yahoo have also thrown their hats into the ring with versions. The goal: get you to use their system so that they can make money from advertisers. Simple as that. This is corporate America looking for a means to get money. But, at what cost?
I’m all for businesses making money. After all, this is the land of opportunity! Where I have a problem is when socializing is stripped down to impersonal typed words and picture postings. Where human interaction is via electricity and not face to face. Where emotions are conveyed by ‘smileys’. The word social is generically defined as companionships or relations, in community versus isolated. People are, by nature, social creatures and have the need to engage with others. Social is key to society…groups of people together. In the past, people would socialize with one another by gathering together. These would be the times for friends and families to talk, share, help, care, love, support, and belong. Sadly, that type of socializing is being replaced. Actually, it is being destroyed. I don’t think I need to define destroy.
It would seem that people today find solace in checking their cell phones or computers for their social fix. Online you can post comments and pictures, share your feelings, give a virtual hug or pat on the back, date, and even break up. Yes, that all happens on there. Many of the things that used to be done “in person” are now “impersonal”. People have had entire relationships online. If that doesn’t make you sad, then you may want to go see someone “in person” to get some help. I say that bluntly with hopes of a wake up call! Socializing is an imperative part of being human, and having human interaction is a necessary part of our mental and emotional well-being. Give thought to the punishment of ‘solitary confinement’…separation of humans from humans. It’s a punishment, not a reward. Sociologists and medical experts know that the key to our sanity is the need for human contact.
It can be safely said that social media is destroying humanity. Humans have social needs and, quite frankly, social media does not fulfill that need. We may think that we are socializing, but it should not be the replacement to actual face-to-face socializing. Sitting in your room with the computer is not giving you human contact. If anything, it is numbing the human right out of you! I would love to see the withdrawals people would have if they didn’t have their internet social medias to check every 10 seconds. They might actually have to learn some face-to-face skills!
I understand that friends and family separated by distance use these formats as a means to stay in contact. No issues here with that. It’s when it becomes your everything, your lifeline to the outside world that is standing right next to you. When people can gather in a room with one another and hardly speak to each other because they are busy “socializing” online. I am always amazed, but rarely shocked anymore, when I see groups of people in the store walking down the aisles with their faces in their phones and no interaction with those whom they are with. I feel sad by this, but this is evidence of the destruction of socializing.
Try something here…a new social media. I call it talking. This type of media requires two people, in the same location, each equipped with a mouth and ears. This social media requires no electricity, data plan, or computer. You simply speak what you would normally type and the other person hears what you said! Then, the person that listened to you will probably say something back, which you would use your ears to hear it! Crazy, I know, but when you repeat that process, possibly adding more people together….oh, the socializing that can happen!!! Don’t call me a pioneer…I checked my history and found out that it was all the rave long ago!