We have never shared so much information – tweeting, instagramming, facebooking but are we sharing the truth? We embellish our lives carefully editing what’s important and in some way making it sound more exciting than it really is because we want our lives to be seen as fun and successful.
We don’t admit to boredom and unhappiness in jobs or relationships or the stress and anxieties we feel and yet we believe that everyone else’s updates are more exciting than our own.
When was the last time you read a really negative status update?
It can come as a relief when we find that the lives of others aren’t as great as we first thought and in spite of us overestimating the fantastic lives of the celebs we follow, when revelations unfold that their life may not be all that it’s cracked up to be it actually makes us feel better.
We can relate to that famous person because they have the same problems you and I have therefore it makes it more real.
Studies have shown that endless exposure to the success of others means that facebook users tend to be prone to isolation, jealousy and depression.
Sherry Turkle in her book “Alone Together” describes ‘a virtual world where you get to build an avatar, a house a family and a social life, a place to love your body, love your friends and love your life.
Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.’
We’ve become dependent on a virtual world that makes us seemingly perfect to those who connect with us but in reality we have all the human foibles and insecurities as the next person.
Last year I wrote about social media addiction but I do wonder if we have reached the saturation point or social media overload. I’ve been active on social media for four years. I was late to the party but I come from a generation that held conversations either face to face or on the telephone and not in an online digital world.
Social media is used primarily for business to promote our brand and get our content messages out to a wider audience.
I admit that I cannot post status updates on my personal life and am rather coy at lambasting my plain and rather unexciting life on the social media platforms but I am a great sharer when it comes to business.
I feel uncomfortable about posting what I’m doing every hour of the day or what exciting or horrible thing has happened to me.
When I was feeling really ill recently and languishing at home all I wanted was some ‘tea and sympathy’ I could have easily posted my status update as ‘ill, in need of sympathy and kind words’ and no doubt I would have had a favourable response but I guess it just isn’t me.
Why do I want to disclose what I’ve eaten for breakfast, which coffee I prefer and what fashion high heels I’m wearing today?
Who really cares or is bothered about my status updates or anyone elses for that matter? True friends maybe, but the rest of the world couldn’t care less about what I’m wearing today or how wonderful my holiday is.
Social media platforms afford a great way to vocalise your thoughts and opinions. It’s searchability means you can find information on any subject you can think of from actors, celebrities, books, and music.
You can follow, like, pin your favourites in the comfort of your armchair.
No one needs to know that you like to bungee jump without any knickers on or that your passion is collecting stamps.
Social media has its purpose and gives us a whole new way of connecting and communicating in this modern world and while it has outlasted it’s fad stage it has become integrated into our personal and business lives.
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and the internet are not going away anytime soon, in turn this will fuel our need for connecting, for staying in touch and for always being on.
Our society and way of life makes great demands on us and social media makes it easier to stay connected to the world.
I admit that the need to post updates to promote messages, blogs and schedule tweets is at times so pressure laden that I wonder what we use to do before social media.
I find it over-stimulating and am easily distracted when I follow a stream or click on a link to something else that I never really engage with the article because there is too much information.
I’ve learnt the art of skimming an article to see if it’s worth staying the course.
Social media has made me impatient I’m rushing to get things done to respond to retweets, mentions, post updates, like, follow and add to a circle it becomes another never ending task I have to do in an otherwise hectic working day.
I’ve become more impatient at the recent changes on the various platforms notably facebook, twitter and linkedin and the time consuming redesigns required to make sure the various sites are professional.
Has social media stopped us being creative, less analytical?
Type in a keyword and up comes a whole host of information without really having to think about it. If I’m sketching out an idea or drawing a mind map rather than thinking about it and being creative I google the idea and hundreds of images pop up.
I can search on tumblr and find great creativity and then I’m distracted and forget what I went there for in the first place.
But these ideas aren’t coming from me. I have no time to sit down and be creative when there are too many other important things to get done.
We don’t know how to be on our own, still and silent without the intrusion of our smartphones going ping.
We’ve become a society that lives on fast food, with less sleep, pressured from aggressive marketing from brands that have too much influence over us, a multi-media digital world where reality and fiction have merged that it has become impossible to recognise what is real and what isn’t.
A possible future? A desensitized and depraved generation of youngsters with an attention span of less than a minute and a desire to be more twitter or facebook famous than their X-Factor counterparts or a silent, quieter world where real conversations with real people take place.
Seriously what do you think?
How do you manage your time on facebook or twitter or any other platform?
Does it help you to stay in touch or connected?