In a growing world where technology has become a necessary source of communication, special attention must be placed on the potential hazards of social media. Social media has changed the way people interact. Most would say in many ways social media has led to positive changes in the way people communicate and share information, however, there are also some dark sides to social networking that sometimes have negative outcomes.
Some of the main areas of negativity associated with social media include the creation of social anxiety, and a weakened ability to communicate effectively person-to-person. Have you found yourself waiting in an elevator and, in fear of someone looking at you the wrong way or the thought of someone speaking to you, the next thing you know you pull out your phone to make it seem as if you are doing something important so no one bothers you? That would be “social anxiety” and most of us don’t even realize it is happening. This is due to us being so wrapped up with technology devices and social media that we use them as outlets to avoid social interaction subconsciously.
On top of avoiding social interaction with technology and social media, when we do decide to communicate we aren’t doing so effectively. We are so consumed with the thought that if we aren’t on our phone that we are missing what is going on, that when we are in the presence of someone, we constantly check our phones for updates. This can come off very offensively to the person you are with, especially if they have given up time in their schedule to meet with you, and you are glued to your phone the entire time. Continually doing so can lead to loss of friends, and professional connections.
Another negative outcome social media has caused is how we communicate with each other. Since social media is so fast paced, we don’t put much depth behind what we post, we just aim for short and sweet. Doing so has led to us applying this concept in our conversations. Instead of being able to spend meaningful time conversing with someone, our conversations have shortened, content is less substantial, and our social media syntax has become our conversations.
Being able to get back to a point where we can separate ourselves from technology and social media, and focus on how to effectively communicate with each other, will help reduce social anxieties and encourage us to work on our person-to-person conversations and interactions.
- Cheria Averitte