Have you ever wondered about the impact of social media? I’ve worried about this outlet giving people an unfiltered voice even if they have a small number of followers/friends. People can write or say really hurtful, mean, and inappropriate things through social media with little or no repercussions. The free speech amendment has taken on new complexity with the internet since millions can be reached through one click. While the social media world does allow for sharing some positive and helpful information (like family pictures and family news), wading through the overabundance of useless information can become burdensome. Some people believe what they share is relevant and meaningful, yet many of us would argue that point. Sometimes social media can capture inappropriate behavior and provide evidence for consequences. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz once said, “we’re not in Kansas”; our world today is dramatically different from even just ten years ago.
Social media has its advantages and disadvantages, but being especially cautious when using it can save much aggravation and turmoil. We may want to have an accountability person that we run stuff by before posting, especially if the subject is controversial, conflictual, or sensitive. We may also want to think about the impact of our post. Are you obsessed with social media likes/comments, etc.? Some spend an inordinate amount of time and energy posting, commenting, and/or reading their social media. Many have more time in front of a screen than with real people. Some individuals post outlandish, inappropriate, and provocative things, while others feel compelled to share everything they do in a day. They are possibly seeking attention or looking to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness. We all can benefit from a “filter check” and recognize that boundaries are necessary when sharing certain information with the world.
Why not limit social media time and focus more on real people time? In spite of our world-wide connection through the internet, studies have reported an increase in loneliness and isolation. The fact is that our internet connections are limited, often superficial, and detached. While we value transparency in our relationships, digital connections lack non-verbal cues which can make the communication difficult to read and interpret. Our messages, emails, and texts cannot be adequately transmitted to convey the complete message when the conversation is more complex and involved, yet people still rely on this form of communication sometimes exclusively. My challenge for you is to pick up the phone or talk face-to-face when the conversation involves emotions, conflict, and/or more complicated issues. You’ll be glad you did.