Just How Much Has Social Media Affected Our Lives?
“It’s a small world after all.”– The Sherman Brothers for Walt Disney “
Social media has really done something special that couldn’t be done when I was growing up. Nowadays, all you have to do is search a person’s name online. Almost instantly, results come pouring in with a list of people with that same name.
More often than not, one of those results is for the person you were searching for.
With a cup of McDonald’s tea in hand, you begin reading and catching up on all the things he or she has done since you last saw them. Marriages that have come, and some that have broken apart. Babies, grandbabies, and fur-babies loved throughout the years. Trips taken. Milestones accomplished. Tragedies and hardships that they’ve overcome.
Yet, the need for human interaction still exists. It’s a part of who we are. That ability to touch and to read facial expressions can’t be done behind the security of a computer. (Much as we wish sometimes it could.)
This got me to thinking about how social media has affected our lives. So, I decided to look more into it and share with you some of my thoughts on the subject.
5 Ways Social Media Has Enhanced Our Lives
Social media has a lot of good qualities that it has brought into our lives. Below are five that I think resonate with most people.
- Finding old,or lost friends. Last winter, while sifting through old photos, I found a picture of a friend of mine who I had not seen in 40 years. I was able to locate her brother on facebook and we were all reunited in Miami this summer! Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post as this is a story in itself! Oh, by the way, did I mention they are Sicilian?
- Developing community with strangers. I’ve talked about the #WritingCommunity before (you can read why here) but there are numerous groups and communities online that can help you grow (in your craft and personally). Being able to find a support group of friends with total strangers is something that would have never happened before social media. Now, we’re all friends (most of the time).
- Education. Someone is always teaching me something on social media. It happens like this: a question is asked in a forum or group and then an onslaught of replies come in. It’s really that simple. Whether you want to learn about self-publishing, writing tricks, or even just how to navigate the social space, someone in your social circle has the answer.
- Self-expression has never been easier. Okay, bell-bottoms and platform shoes were once a way to express yourself. Clothing, hairstyles, and even the words we spoke allowed us to express who we were. With social media, people are able to change or re-invent themselves over and over again. It could be with a profile pic, background heading, or even with the images and quotes they post.
- It creates a larger world view. There isn’t a day that goes by without seeing something online about what’s happening in the world around us. Good or bad, we are inundated with the events of thousands of miles away as well as in our own backyard. I think this gives us a greater insight into the lives of others and helps the world as a whole connect on a deeper level than ever before.
5 Ways Social Media Has Diminished Our Lives
Unfortunately, there is also a dark side to social media. While I would prefer to focus on the positive, I want you to know that it’s not all sunflowers and peace signs.
- Running into unavoidable negativity. Life happens every day and with it comes the good and the bad. While most people usually post their happiest moments online, others tend to post the negative things happening in theirs. As a coach, I know that it’s because they are reaching out for help and seeking support. However, if you are following someone who sounds like Debbie Downer every day, it’s hard to stay positive.
- Cyberbulling is real. As if bullying IRL (that’s “in real life”) wasn’t hard enough, a newer form of bullying has taken up residency on social media. It could be through cruel words, mean online tagging “games”, or by DMing (direct messaging) hateful thoughts or ideas. Sadly, these bullies are hiding behind their screens and are rarely stopped unless reported to the platform on which the recipient was bullied.
- Self-worth. The comparison game is real on social media. Unfortunately, most of the people posting beautiful photos of places they travel to “every day” or body posts are usually fabricated or are staged. This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction with your own life, body, or even what you’re eating at night. (If you’ve seen the thousands of food pics come across your feed, you know what I’m talking about.)
- Obsession/Addiction. I almost didn’t use these words, but they are more accurate then anyone wants to admit. The truth is that there is a lot of pressure to have a certain number of posts created daily or people who follow you. Some individuals wrap their own success in how many people like and comment on their posts. Unfortunately, there are even unwritten “rules” about how many followers you have to have before you can be considered by a publishing company as sponsor.
- The Follow/Unfollow Game. In the never-ending race to gain new followers and grow their profiles, some people play the follow/unfollow game. Now, I don’t pay a lot of attention to this, but I know it is bothersome to most. What happens is that people will follow you so that you follow them in return. Once they have your follow, or have promoted their product or service to you, they turn around and unfollow you. While it is not a dangerous or harmful game (that I’m aware of), its more of a nuisance and frustration to those of us who are trying to grow followers organically.
Social Media in Your Life
There you go! Now you know how I feel and the affects I believe social media has had on our lives. I’d love to hear what social media has done to enhance (and hopefully not diminish) your life. Be sure to leave a comment in below or on Twitter and let me know about it.
By the way, If you’re looking for great authentic Italian food in Florida, please check out both of my friends restaurants! Tell them Marcie sent you!
Mike’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant
13712 SW 84th Street
Miami FL 33183
Carini’s Pizzaria & Trattoria Italian Restaurant Bonita Springs
24611 Production Circle
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
“The Shoebox Effect is more than a memoir…it’s a movement.”– Marcie Keithley
What’s in YOUR shoebox?