More often than not, we live and work in places far from our loved ones, forcing us to rely on communication through social media. Communication is essential; some may say a necessity, in our efforts of maintaining our relationships with friends and family that we aren’t able to physically interact with on a regular basis. The problem is we often become so wrapped up in our lives on social networks, we ignore people in our presence, we ignore real life socializing opportunities, we glue our eyes to our cellphones or watches.
In his book, Prado notes, “87 out of 100 teenagers think it is more important to answer a text or call than continue face-to-face conversation; nor is doing so thought rude…” (2017). I can attest that this behavior is not only prevalent in teenagers, but adults as well. At a going away dinner for a friend, I noticed how cell phones received more attention than my friend did. Most people had their face in their phones, more interested in conversations on social media, than real life conversations, myself included. It dawned on me how awful this was because I was in Hawaii, a place so many people can only dream of going, but I was on whatsapp or something. At other social gatherings, like parties, party goers are so often snapchatting and going live to show friends and family members what a great time their having, that they forget to actually have a great time.
Social media serves its purpose in providing distant relationships a means of maintenance with communication upkeep. However, it truly makes people less social in their present lives, as we unlearn what it is to communicate in real time. Fairfield draws attention to social media’s effect in stating “as the preference for e-communication increases, what decreases is not only communicative competence, but also the place in human experience for the unconventional, unpredictable, unplanned, imaginative, intangible, indirect, incalculable, and non-preordained” (2017). Basically, the fun and pleasure from human interaction at social events are no longer enjoyed with the increase in use of social media for communication.
It would be undeniably dramatic to suggest that people no longer use social media. A more reasonable suggestion is to put phones on airplane mode in order to enjoy in-person communication in social settings. More times than not, the conversations via social media are not that of an emergency. By putting our phone on airplane mode in social atmospheres, you give the people around you the respectful attention they deserve, and you allow the person on the other end to do the same.
Prado, C. G. (2017). Social Media and Your Brain: Web-Based Communication Is Changing How We Think and Express Ourselves. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Fairfield, P. (2017). Social Media and Communicative Unlearning: Learning to Forget in Communicating. In Prago, C.G. (Eds.), Social Media and Your Brain: Web-Based Communication Is Changing How We Think and Express Ourselves. (14). Santa Barbara,CA: Praeger.