October 28, 2014
One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward
The digital age has speeded our pace of life up and social media is largely contributing. People no longer live in the present or have time to contemplate things, instead they are getting lost in cyberspace. In the past you had to be with somebody to talk to them when you went out and people were much friendlier; now you don't and people are becoming more cliquey and ignorant with their phones. Public houses rarely have atmosphere these days as people keep checking Facebook and showing no interest in others. People are also too worried about their image and what people could post about them on these social web-sites, so they keep checking their profile in a climate of fear.
Social media is great for networking and staying in touch with old friends, but it’s gone beyond this simple structure and taken the social out of being social. We’ve come so far from normal human interaction that we would friend request a person before ever daring to actually say hi to them in public.
Social media is not only bad by stunting our healthy human relationships, but it can actually affect people’s self-esteem. A picture on a page can get a certain number of “likes,” and that can feel really great, but you’re going to keep looking for that high that Facebook previously gave you. When no one seems to care about your sushi dinner last night, it’s going to hit your self-esteem subconsciously. We all know in reality that this doesn’t hold any self-worth, but deep down, psychologically, it’s just not good for you.
Another awful side of being a teenager or a 20-something in the generation that thrives on the web is we have an inherent nature towards competition. There is healthy competition in the job-market or on the field during intramural sports, but there is unhealthy competition in battling Instagram views on “Selfie Sunday.” By sitting and staring at a page of someone’s intentionally portrayed personality, we begin to naturally compare ourselves. This may not be everyone, but it’s most people and just encourages our already shallow society.
I think it hurts our generation much more than it helps. It is nice to be able to stay in contact with old friends, but how many times have you blocked that annoying “activist” on Facebook from your news feed? Yeah, the one who has continuously provoked argument after argument about how they could easily solve the debt crisis from their desk chairs.
I won’t deny that I use social media, but some sites are worse than others. I want to delete my Facebook, and I hate that I feel the guilt to keep up with it because it’s possible I could actually miss something. In this day in age, you could actually lose touch with people. Let’s find something better to do with our time, like pick up the phone.
While I cannot deny the convenience of online shopping, it’s often the interactions we have at brick and mortar stores and with the sales associates who work there that make the shopping experience enjoyable and develop our allegiance to one store over another.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen brands make a shift towards enhancing their customer-service and being more concerned with the customer’s overall experience with their company. Unfortunately, an aesthetically pleasing website or an instant message chat with a customer service representative can’t replace a friendly smile; and chances are the folks at Amazon will never know my name and purchasing habits the way the employees at my local Trader Joes do. Ok. Maybe they will. Those algorithms are getting pretty sophisticated, but you get my point. It’s like the folks on Cheers said, sometimes you really do want to go where everybody knows your name.
Furthermore, while sending a text, email or Facebook message to wish someone Happy Birthday is indeed better than doing nothing, there’s something so warm and thoughtful about receiving a birthday card in the mail or