Not so social media

Lesley Willard, Staff Writer

We have finally reached a point in our lives where many young people don’t remember a life without social media. While most of those people believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with staying updated on the latest technology, those who knew a life before it often strongly disagree. The question is: why?

The first desktop computer was released in 1943. It was huge, bulky and far from portable, but because of its new technology, it was more than 1,000 times faster than any other computer on the market during that time. People were ecstatic.

After the computer, the next big, exciting release was the first wireless telephone, which was introduced to the world in 1973. Before that, all anyone knew was a phone with a cord attached that didn’t let you go more than 6 feet away from where the phone was mounted on the wall. This new phone with no cord was technically considered the first cell phone. Again, people were amazed.

All of these new inventions seemed great at first. They brought remarkable changes to the lives of those who used them and completely changed society as a whole. So where is the problem?

All was well with technology until smartphones were released and social media apps followed. With these new apps, people were able to communicate with friends they hadn’t seen or spoken to in years. It gave people time to catch up with one another and made relationships much easier to keep up with. Or did it?

Along with these seemingly helpful apps came a pretty large set of challenges. We  began to rely heavily on them to uphold our relationships. Instead of making a phone call, people began using Snapchat; instead of printing photos, people began posting to Instagram; instead of watching TV, people began watching vloggers on YouTube; and instead of venting in personal conversation, people began updating their status on Facebook.

The problem that people are starting to notice with social media now is that it is beginning to replace one-on-one relationships instead of enhance them. We have started using social media as a way to say and do whatever we want, which has created quite a toxic environment for apps.

Because social media has become so prevalent in society today, many people are finding it hard to function in social settings. Social anxiety has sky-rocketed, and when it’s time to have a face-to-face conversation with someone, many people forget what to say or how to act.

More often than not, we find people relying on their phones and social media for comfort and using them as a cushion when they aren’t sure what else to do. Along with these coping mechanisms, many people find themselves being distracted by social media during times when their attention should be directed elsewhere, as if the apps are literally an addiction.

So, what’s my opinion? Social media is most definitely damaging to personal relationships. It makes human interaction easily escapable and hinders people’s ability to relate to others on the spot quickly without having time to think about what to say or how to say it. Easy-flowing conversation is hard to come by, and I truly think it’s a direct result of the social media craze.