If you’re reading this then you’ve probably clicked on a link from a social networking site, in this instance Twitter. I bet you’ve be on Twitter for quite a while now and spend a lot of your day scrolling and then scrolling some more to see what’s been going on in the world of your friends, acquaintances and favorite celebrities, scared that you might miss something relevantly important.
I know this because I do this. We all do it. We’ll all be doing it for years to come.
The question is though, is this a healthy way to connect with people from different corners of the world in any moment in time or an unhealthy obsession that will ultimately ruin social interaction?
I know the latter may sound quite extreme but I do worry.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some truly great benefits from social networking sites. These include getting to connect with friends and family that live the other side of the world and getting to share photos and videos with these people. It also includes being able to receive breaking news stories as they happen and receive information on things that may genuinely affect us- travel, weather etc and it can also be of great benefit for people to get in touch with various agencies that help with social, health and mental wellbeing issues. These are only a few things I can think of off the top of my head but I’m sure there are many, many more.
On a personal level however, I use networking sites probably more than I should because of one thing and one thing only-sheer boredom. If you gave me the opportunity to go to the pub or the cinema or any situation that got me away from Facebook or Twitter, to interact face to face with people I’d take it in a heartbeat, and I guess that’s the same for most people.
It’s an ugly world that lies in the midst of these sites, but we all use them as we’re scared we’ll miss out on something and societal pressure doesn’t really allow us not to be on them, it’s just the done thing.
By an ugly world, I mean the way the sites are abused by people’s natural instinct of wanting to be constantly liked by others. I’m guilty of it myself. You bizarrely judge yourself on how many ‘likes’ or ‘re-tweets’ you get and wonder what’s wrong with you if you don’t get any at all, we all do it.
What really get’s to me though is people who feel the need to brag about how ‘great’ their lives are ALL.THE.TIME. In all honestly, I think if I had the perfect life, career, boyfriend etc I don’t think I’d feel the need to use social networking half as much as I do now. So why do people do it? I literally have no idea! All I can think of is they do it to either belittle people or use it as a mask to cover their own insecurities and imperfections. If I was having the best time ever on a dream holiday I wouldn’t feel the need to produce a minute by minute running commentary on what I was doing each day. Some things, in my opinion, are better off staying private and personal. I know I may becoming across as bitter here, but I’m not at all, it’s just one of life’s annoying little things.
What worries me the most about social networking is how the above-mentioned will affect the children of the future. Technology is ever expanding and the use of social networking sites is just going to grow and grow. I’m forever seeing pictures of teenage girls half naked, wrapped round poles that have been ‘liked’ by hundreds of people, and I worry that this desire to be liked will lead to false ideas of what makes someone ‘popular’ and that this will ultimately rub off on our children. I know it’s a horrible generalization I’m making here and we should give children more intellectual credit than they deserve but it’s just something worth thinking about.
The tweet or not tweet: that is the question.