Thursday, 16 June 2016

10 Ways in which Social Media Changed Us

1. We are not allowed to forget - the people we met or the instances we lived. Throughout our lives we meet huge numbers of people, most of them stay for a few days/weeks or months in our lives and then, they disappear. Or at least they should... Not if you add them to your social network. If they come in, bam!... they are here to stay.. for a long time. Moreover, even if you don't add them to your network, you get a friend suggestion, you see them comment on a friend's post, you see them in a picture, and all the memories come back. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I have a hint that we only have a threshold of people we can connect to and care about at a time.
2. Always thinking about reciprocity - we have to be very careful not to hurt the feelings of others when we decide to let them go and take them out of our network. If they figure they are out they can get offended, although we only want to keep our network simple and make it work best for our present circumstances. We also have to struggle with reciprocity in many other circumstances such as liking one's posts or saying happy birthday.
3. Our popularity is quantified and displayed - we now have a measure of our social success. Although it does not necessarily reflect our popularity, it is the first time in history that popularity is worn like an emblem on our social media account. Many go even further measuring people's worth by their follow-ship on Twitter or Instagram. Right? Surely not!
Popularity has thus become misunderstood, perceived as an end instead of a mean to do something meaningful and positive in our communities. Not to mention that popularity mistaken as the worth of individuals can take us to a myriad of wrong places. I will come back to this in a future post because this thing interests me quite a lot.
4. Humbleness in not trending -  Yes! Being humble is not a value that society appreciates and encourages, not through social media anyway, because, guess what, there are not many means to show humbleness through social media. Want to show off? Please do! You can show pictures, videos, rant all you want, criticize, shout, wear costumes, you name it. Want to be humble and do your thing well? Again, please do! But there is not a platform for you to showcase your example. You can display your achievements but the long hours of striving and hustling that got you there, remain in the darkness.
5. Emotions are torrential - sharing an emotional episode on social media, such as a wedding, birthday, professional achievement, will definitely burst your experience, but it will also make it last significantly less time, just like a torrential rain. As the social media hype ends, we tend to let go of the happiness and get back to our livelihoods, just like everybody else. Is this a good thing? I would dare to say it is not. The beauty of fulfillment is to make it linger as much as possible, with every time we share it to the people we love, every single one at a time.
6. We don't miss each other as much - I don't know whether it is just me, but I feel that this constant contentedness doesn't give us the space to miss other people the way we used to.
7. Suddenly, we all have a voice - though I think we should not. I think that earning one's voice is a necessary journey to take in everybody's life. Now, we have a tribune, we carry it around in our mobile phone and we make use of it whenever the opportunity comes: we are at the beach - we shout, we are taking an exam - we shout; we are wearing a flattering garment - we shout. Of course, not all of us do this. Discerning when to make use of our newly acquired voice requires experience, a healthy sense of appropriateness and a good deal of respect to the people in our community. Let's imagine one day in which all the people in social media would make efforts to share considerately and thoughtfully, making sure they take note of the necessities of others, how would it be?
8. We all chew the same information - we have the sensation that we are informed but it is actually hard to get away from social media and acquire information in  a systematic and methodical way. We read an article and suddenly we know a little on the subject and feel there is no need to go deeper because there is so much to apprehend. We feed our ever increasing curiosity by stopping at each catchy title and we have a false sensation of accomplishment. Nevertheless, there is little value in the information trending on social media, as it is generally meant to grab attention and it is less meant to educate and increase knowledge.
9. People who "do things" are becoming more remarkable than people who "know things"- knowledge is now at our fingertip so we stopped appreciating vast knowledge and intellectual vocation. Instead, we applaud people that actually do something with palpable result (be it painting, building a chair or surfing).
10. We never get bored - whenever we have an off time we have games, Netflix, YouTube, books, chatting or google on our screen usually standing an arm-length away. Boredom is not an option anymore, although boredom is a very useful psychological phase in which we sediment our experience and we  explore our emotions. Daydreaming, manifesting, planning, all happen whilst we are bored.

Hope you liked my 10 points. Please join the conversation and add to these ideas. I want to go deeper into each point in future posts. Would that interest you?

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