Social media has turned us all into introverts – its not that its “too people-y” outside, its “too people-y” in our own heads!
I wrote a post on this back in May 2011, and if anything, its gotten worse – and we do it to ourselves!
Having an active social life that includes “real life” friends and family as well as an online existence has become normal. Its unusual to meet someone who is not on Facebook.
In the days before the internet, our social circles were a handful of close friends, if you were lucky you could include your family. If you were really lucky, you had a best friend too. These were the people you invited to birthday parties and special celebrations, the ones you called if you had news. These were the people with whom you shared your life, and it was done face-to-face, or over the phone.
Announcements of life changing events didn’t happen every day, and if something big happened – a baby, a loss, a new job – you had ample time to process it emotionally before the next proclamation (in theory, ‘coz shit happens), and these announcements were shared personally, without the need for a disclaimer to not share it on social media until you’d had a chance to share your news yourself.
I know I bounce from one emotion to another a lot more often in a single day than someone who doesn’t use social media. If I woke up on the wrong side of the bed ten years ago, I would probably have stayed in that mood all day. Now if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I can scroll through Facebook and within an hour I have laughed, been disappointed, excited, annoyed, gone back to feeling grumpy, posted about it somewhere, felt better because I got it off my chest, and then gone back to being grumpy because nobody noticed!
People we used to talk to face-to-face now post their news online, and because of social media algorithms we don’t see it. Then we overthink everything without really giving ourselves the chance to finish thinking about the last thing, and then we feel guilty because we’re suddenly laughing at a cat video, when we haven’t yet finished mourning something else entirely!
And for heaven’s sake – you can’t change social media algorithms with a status update!
I love how social media allows me to be the centre of attention sometimes, and keeps me grounded and aware of just how blessed I am, and I hate how it makes me feel left out. I hate how it has allowed me to believe I have better relationships with people than I really do…
I love how I have also discovered things I didn’t know I would be interested in, I have had my mind changed, and I have been educated, but I hate how it also makes me feel less than…
Social media has done more to break down the barriers between races and cultures than politics will ever do, but it has also increased those tensions.
It is an awesome and powerful double-edged sword.
It can empower you and make you feel like you actually have a voice on this overcrowded planet, but the emotional overload is why people don’t want to talk on the phone anymore, or commit to an invitation, and I miss that.