Remember when you used to see your best friend pretty much everyday? Remember, when if you made a plan you had to stick to it because you didn’t have mobile phones to keep in constant contact? When you used to chat on the phone at least once a week? Remember sending dumb text messages just because you could? Do you remember chatting over all your problems over popcorn and a movie at a sleepover? I could go on and on.
Yup, some people probs still have some of the above, but I think many of us are more used to the majority of our contact with anyone being online now, probably on Facebook.
Internet friends are awesome…
On one hand, the internet makes it easier to keep in touch and it makes it easier to meet new people who share your (sometimes niche) interests. I know when I was a teenager using forums and MySpace helped me develop my social skills and I’m very grateful for that. Although, would I have found those skills another way if the internet hadn’t been there? Probably.
I’ve met some of my best friends via blogging, social media or internet related jobs, so I’m definitely not slating it for making new friends. What I’m concerned about is how the internet has grown to restrict our offline interactions with people.
Broadcasting rather than interacting…
With everyone constantly broadcasting everything online, you pretty much keep in contact passively, you just know everything that’s going on with ‘friends’ because they’ve Instagrammed it or put a Facebook status up, but you don’t necessarily interact all the time. This habit generally causes that annoying situation when you do have a real life conversation where you share something and the other person responds with “Yea, I know, saw it on Facebook” and there ends that conversation. Or, what I think is the possibly sadder version, when you just stop interacting all together because you feel like you’re connected even without speaking directly to each other.
As mentioned in my recent Digital Detox post, I’ve been thinking a lot about all this and recently did a Facebook clear up because of it. Off the back of that, it’s gotten me (and Miz) thinking again, has social media made us all apathetic about real life relationships and interaction? I think so and that’s why I’m taking steps to rediscover spontaneity and spending time with people offline.
I spoke to a friend about this topic and she told me about an experiment she did which highlights this problem so well and reveals the sad side of social media. She told me that over a year she invited each of her 200 Facebook friends to go out for a drink with her, a simple request of someone who you claim to be ‘friends’ with don’t you think? Only 3 of them accepted. How sad is that?
Take social offline!
I think people take social media for granted, they rely on it to keep in contact with people, even if it is passively and it means you’re missing out on the real life, offline interaction that should be so natural to us all. But then again, when we are in those offline situations, how many of us are busy tweeting who you’re with, snapping an Instagram of your food…etc. to advertise to those who aren’t with you how much of an awesome time you’re having!? What’s with that? Yea, in moderation it’s a good bit of fun, but how about we all learn when to switch off the internet and treasure real people who are right in front of us?
The other problem that you encounter with social media is that horrid fear of missing out, spending too much time online analysing what you’re peers are doing, not considering that they are only sharing the best bits of life and forever feeling inadequate in comparison. You can’t tell me you haven’t been there at one point or another, right? How’s about we stop comparing ourselves to others and spend more time creating our own awesome memories and experiences, whether that be as simple as a drink in the local pub to travelling the world!
I certainly think social media makes people forget to actively keep in touch with friends, like I said the online connections makes you feel connected even if you haven’t physically interacted. I have some friends who I haven’t had a one-to-one conversation with for nearly a year and that’s pretty sad. I know I haven’t tried enough either and it’s something I’m going to put more effort in with. Basically, don’t forget to TALK to people, even if it is in Facebook messenger, the personal approach is best and for f’s sake spend some offline time together with those you care about whenever you can, that’s how real memories and experiences happen.
What to do something about it?
I’m going to do something about it, being on the internet 24/7 for work makes it challenging as you get so overexposed to everything, but it’s can also make you feel a bit lonely, looking at everyone’s posts about how awesome stuff in and not doing anything in particular yourself. Here’s a few things I’m going to do to be more social!
- Turn off the internet on your phone when you’re not using it! I’m already doing this and it’s great, less distractions and more time to focus on who you’re with in real life. If you’re heading to the local pub, leave your phone at home, you probably don’t need it!
- Interact more, don’t just like stuff! When you are online, don’t be lazy, if you see something you like on a friend’s post don’t just like/fave it write something, it’s a simple thing and it’s a step closer to a real conversation.
- Make plans and stick to them! If you’ve got friend’s in the local area, make sure you make plans to see them offline. If you don’t have many friends nearby, make more effort to go outside and do things (gigs, pub quiz, gym…etc.) you’re bound to make a random connection at some point.
Anyone got anything else they’d like to add this one? Anyone else feeling the same about social media? Wondering what it would be like if it never turned up?