Social Media As The End-All

Each day during my morning commute, the work day when not in meetings and my evening commute, I listen to NPR. Most of the stories are interesting and I wholeheartedly agree with the issues presented as being issues for society. But this morning my interest was greatly piqued.

Listen/Read: NPR Story Facebook May Not Be So Friendly For Those With Low Self-Esteem

I understand most people have lower inhibitions regarding self-disclosure via social media. This could contribute to the concept of airing dirty laundry more openly on facebook and the like.  Also, the potential negative effect that the lack of reaction (like, share) by others to wall posts by those with low self-esteem could occur. With this part of the story, I agree.

The part that somewhat shocked me was from the 24 year-old law student quoted in the story.  He mentions if something is posted an no one likes it or shares it, you feel your idea is worthless.  He goes on to speak about pictures of events being posted where you were not included.  He notes feeling deliberately excluded or forgotten, and the fact that those pictures of the exclusion are posted for all to see.

Has facebook replaced our social interactions to the point where this is the only interaction that matters?  That gives us self-worth?  We are social creatures and our happiness is derived from those around us (and even the social network of those who surround us), so what happens to our happiness when our interactions with those around us are limited to simply text with no diction or tagging in pictures?

Last year, I read Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You.  At the time, I was shocked. I never thought of the phone call as a rude form of communication. I still don’t. Why? You don’t have to answer it. And if the person I am calling (intruding upon) does not answer, I leave a voice message. This is something many people do not do, and I find that awkward. Through text message, diction is lost. I am not sure how one can feel truly connected with someone through text message or liking their facebook posts.

I must be one of those dinosaurs who enjoys a coffee date, a phone call or just a good face-to-face conversation with one of my girlfriends, right? Sadly, I’m not. I’m only turning thirty this fall. And, yes, I do use facebook, just evidently not like some of my generation and younger.

Facebook and other forms of social media are wrought with miscommunication potential.  Think about what the 24 year-old law student said in the NPR story: pictures posted without you in them, were you purposely not invited? Just because you were not invited to that particular event, does that mean you have no friends whatsoever? Of course not, you have 568 friends on facebook.

Are we getting to the point where we prefer passive interaction? Can relationships be retained with 140 character bursts?