Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Social Media Destroying Society

Once upon a land in a time not too far away the internet, and by association social media, was a concept of science fiction stories.

In those halcyon days people fell out with each other, they disagreed, they sulked for a few days/weeks/months and then something happened and communication recommenced and friendships often returned to the pre-argument days.

School play grounds were full of ever changing friendship groups, based on person A being mean to person B (real or imagined) so person C forced to choose which person they liked more, when in fact person C had no idea about what was going on and couldn't understand why they couldn't be friends with both.

Work places also saw these changing dynamics.  Fred wrote a report which had an adverse knock on effect for his colleagues.    This  resulted in Fred being ostracised during lunch breaks but then after a few weeks the full effect of his suggestions started showing positive benefits for those colleagues and the dynamics changed again.

Sometimes that return to the previous relationship was accompanied by laughter and merriment, as well as confusion over how they could have been so silly to allow such a misunderstanding   deprive them of each others companionship.

Then into these times of arguments and misunderstandings the internet, a tool of research and communication over vast distances, arrived.   Initially this important tool of communication was reserved for the educated, the professionals, the elite but eventually it was made available to the general populous.    Why was such a powerful tool made available to all (who could afford it)?    Some say it allows the masses to become more informed, others say it's to encourage the belief in freedom, most saw it as a way of increasing communication between all.

With the purported aim of increasing communication various social media sites (purely philanthropic and by no means a marketing weapon) were promoted to the masses and embraced with much enthusiasm.     Sadly this new form of communication is a bit like a newborn, it came without an operators manual, old 'rules' didn't seem to apply and a whole new modus operandi was needed, and not just for the older users.

Similarities to the school ground scenario could be seen by people taking offence at comments made by a friends friend and deciding to penalise the long term friend for associating with people who espoused such outrageous views.    Other people would take offence at a friend posting pictures of many social gatherings they had never been invited to, rather than say (privately) 'hey, looks like you had a great time, is there a reason I never get invited to these fun things'  they may brood and feel insecure, bottling up these feelings until they over-react and lose a good friend - who's only 'sin' is to have other friends who invite them out.

I will admit to being guilty of some major mistakes with the new communication system, someone was regularly posting information that had a cumulative negative effect on my peace of mind so I removed them from my contacts.   I later discovered site  has a function which would have enabled me to simply stop seeing their posts, thereby keeping me happy and not offending them.     I also discovered that if I was having a conversation with someone else, their friends could blame them for my views, just by the mutual friend not publicly disagreeing with me - In my world I expect anyone offended to say something along the lines of 'hey, that's a bit unfair, do you really agree with that'

So is social media destroying society?    I'd argue yes.   People read something written by a friend, or a friend of a friend, and decide to be offended, even if the comment was not directed at, or even connected to them,   rather than debate they block.       People will also say they are too busy to have a phone conversation and then spend 30 minutes, or longer, having a typed discussion - my opinion of this is it's easier to hide your true thoughts/feelings when your voice can't be heard.     Communicating by keyboard is impersonal and safe whereas feel life interactions and verbal communications can be fraught with danger (of emotions being displayed).

I will continue to use social media but I hope it continues to play second fiddle to human interaction, either in person or by telephone.


  1. couldn't agree more Tracey, you hit the nail right on the head there...always try to keep up with your latest doings. Hope Pauls keeping well and busy!. We were down your way again this last spring on the bikes, but were a bit more over to the middle of BG to easily drop by...anyway keep warm !

    1. Thanks, all good in our world. Kati and yourself welcome anytime you are in the vicinity xx