When it comes to today’s social media and the game of how we play it, how much is too much? Better yet, is there a rating system that shows how important you are to another person by the way they reach you via social media? Take for instance, if someone snapchats you with an ugly face and comical caption, are you friends? Acquaintances? Or rather mere members of a social media community that simply share contacts? Have we devalued the sense of a phone call or hand-written letter by substituting it with a simpler, faster way of communicating with a broader audience?
Instead of calling each and every one of my immediate family members, I am able to post a photo of myself doing whatever I am doing at that exact second and let them know I am well. Whereas 10 years ago, a weekly or bi-weekly call to update everyone concerned about you was a sign of respect in a mutual relationship. Maybe we have even developed a phobia of personal communication that requires eye contact, verbal exchange or even the physical touch of someone. We have such busy schedules that a snapchat or a text substitutes the common phone call or quick coffee to check in.
Social media and communication based on their usage has already affected our natural way of communicating. They have been actively present for around five years and the effects have already started to show in our future generations as well as our own. I personally find myself texting or sending emails a good portion of my day, far more than any other form of social media that I use, which is even interrupting me as I write this article. Not to mention the issues I have with day-to-day communication with the ones I need to stay in contact with, and even face-to-face communication.
Studies have shown both sides of the argument, and while I make the point that social networking has made us a bit more isolated, there are certainly beneficial aspects as to how social media has helped us as well. Political activism, pop culture, or general topics of interest can certainly trend and inform users more quickly than turning on a television or radio. Newspapers have turned to forms of social media like Twitter and Facebook in order to keep their audiences informed and contented with constant posting abilities.
Rather than taking sides or choosing a statistic to prove my point, there certainly is no right or wrong way to go about using social media. The only way to ensure you don’t burn yourself out or exterminate the different accounts is to control everything in moderation. You cannot expect yourself to be doing everything at once in order to stay in contact with everyone. The concept would therefore be void by complicating communication and starting back at page one. Keep your accounts in check and you should be set to find a balance among all the updates.
Amber is a sophomore majoring in journalism and public relations.