The Problems with Social Media

todayJune 22, 2015 13

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Kalie Souknary
KTSW Web Content Contributor

*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole.

I can’t stay off social media. I might be more active some days or I don’t post but once all day, but I’m obsessed with being connected to the world. I couldn’t go one day without getting on social media. I consider this a problem. Here’s why.

Photo by Kalie Souknary
Photo by Kalie Souknary

1.) Social media has made it hard to interact with people.
Yeah, it’s still possible to make friends in real life, but our interactions with each other have noticeably decreased. A huge issue I’ve been hearing a lot about on an app called “Yik Yak” is the fact that boys can’t gut up the courage to talk to a girl. Instead, they “yak” about it and say something like, “Girl in my math class today, you’re so beautiful. Maybe one day I’ll have the guts to talk to you.” This is a problem. Now, we rely on apps like “Tinder” and “Hot or Not” to conveniently do our soul searching for us. Of course, in the old days men still had trouble talking to women, but social media makes it even harder because of our lack of physical interactions.

Our eyes are constantly glued to our phones. One the bus, we use it to avoid eye contact and small talk. In class, we use it to repel people from sitting next to us. In the elevator, we use it to avoid awkward conversations. This closes off the opportunity of meeting new people and more importantly, kills our communication skills. If we were forced to be without our phones, people would talk to each other more because they wouldn’t be able to stand the awkward silence. Although this would be a forced interaction, imagine how many people you would meet. Endless possibilities.

2.) Social media makes it harder to get over someone.
Over Christmas break, I found myself trying to get over someone. You  know what didn’t help with that? Checking their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. If you’re the type that just can’t help but to snoop on what your ex is doing, social media doesn’t help unless you have the strength to delete and block all of their accounts so that you can pretend they don’t exist. Even then it’s not easy because you know they DO exist. Social media doesn’t force us to close the door on someone. It just keeps calling on us saying, “Hey, wanna know what your ex is doing? Ah, I know you do. Come on, just this once and never again.” You know you’ll check more than once. The more you do, the longer it takes to get over them.

3.) We don’t actually care about people.
You’re friends on Facebook, you follow them on Twitter, you have them on Snapchat, and you follow their Instagram. So you’re friends, right? Wrong. Just because you interact with someone on social media, doesn’t mean you actually care about them. It’s just convenient for you. Would you have remembered Katie’s birthday if Facebook didn’t remind you? Would you have known about Harry’s recent engagement? Would you have even asked about John’s day if you couldn’t see it on Snapchat? I doubt it. Social media makes it easy for us to look like we care about people’s everyday life when really we’re just nosy and bored, so we have enough time to squeeze you into our lives for ten seconds. It’s an easy way to keep a half-assed relationship with others. Like saying, “I like you enough to see what you’re doing, but we’re probably not gonna hang out anytime soon.”

Today, a simple “favorite,” “Like,” or “snap” is considered enough to show someone you care. Well, newsflash for my generation, it’s not. A better way to show someone you care is to buy them their favorite candy. Get them a card. Call them and ask how their day was. Ask them out for coffee. Show an actual interest in them, not their insignificant everyday actions.

4.) Social media disconnects us from nature.
There are so many beautiful places in this world and it starts right outside your door. In December, I unplugged and decided to explore the Rio Vista right here in San Marcos just five miles away. It was one of the most beautiful places in town and it was completely natural. I had never felt more connected to San Marcos or nature in general. I got to meet a city-famous man named the “Sun God” and get career advice from him. I sat in one spot for 30 minutes just taking in the beautiful views. So simple, yet so beautiful. Social media keeps us inside. And if we are outside, we’re still glued to our phones. Now, if people want to see nature, they plan for it. However, they don’t notice the natural everyday beauty that is front of us. Take a minute to put down your phone and just look around. You’ll notice something you thought was never even there. When you finally give it a chance, you’ll realize how overwhelming social media can feel. It’s like a weight being lifted off your shoulders. Try it and you’ll understand what I mean.

5.) Social media makes us impatient.
Social media sites are fast paced. Everyone is constantly updating. If you’re one of those who sit in bed at 2 in the morning constantly refreshing your tweets because you can’t sleep, you know what I mean. You’re waiting for something new to happen. Subconsciously, your mind wants to see more. Oh, Tumblr is down? What are you gonna do now and when is it going to work again?! Why hasn’t the verdict for that controversial case been posted?! When is G-Eazy going to drop his new album?!

We demand so many things from social media and we want them at our convenience. If social media doesn’t move fast, we stop using it. Just as you got bored of the same boring toy as a kid, you get bored and stop using sites that don’t constantly keep you connected. Have you thought about that?

Social media is a great thing. It connects us to people across the world and makes it easy for us to stay in contact with old friends and distant family. However, we also need to stay aware of our surroundings and remember that the interactions we have with people and nature are important, too. Take some time to unplug.

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