As a child, I did not have a computer until I was in about the 5th grade. We then had 10 hours of dial up internet a month, that we shared among the family. I got my first cell phone when I was 17, when I learned how to drive, in case I broke down I could call home. We did not get a texting plan until my early twenties. I was a freshman in college when Mark Zuckerberg and friends invented Facebook.
Facebook over the years has greatly changed. There was a period of time, that only college e-mail addresses could access it and only on certain campuses. You could automatically see anyone from your university. Initially Facebook was used for posting pictures and writing updates about what you were doing. You could write notes, and there were customizable pages and apps. It was a way to connect with other friends at school. Then it was opened up to the general public, and became what it is today.
The point is, I distinctly remember a time when the social media helped us to be more social. It was a way to get to know people, to connect with them to meet up.
Now, it has become a way for us to feel connections without having to connect. Before Facebook, you would have to talk to people in person, or call on the phone to meet with them. Before Facebook, we called each other or met up to catch up. When someone had a pampered chef or other product based party, it was in their home and they sent your or handed you a written invitation to attend. It’s not uncommon for me now to be invited to at least 3 LuLaRoe Sales, 4 BeachBody Motivation Month groups, and at least 1 Pampered Chef Catalog Party. Rarely an in person invite, save the occasional picnic or party, and/or school fundraising events.
Now a days there is a false sense that we are all connected with one another all the time. The sense that I don’t need to call my friends to check in, because I already know that they went to Disney last spring, got pregnant, had a baby, ran a marathon, got married, got a new dog, hosted an exchange student, moved to a different state, got divorced, or quit their job. As a result, it’s very difficult to actually connect with people off the screen, and it is even harder to make new friends.
I alternatively love and hate social media. Without it, I would not be able to keep up with the people I care about in this ever busy age. I would not be able to keep up with events that are happening in the area. I would not be in touch with goings on in the world, as I do not watch any TV news programs. I appreciate the dialogue that we can have, and the groups and communities I can participate in, like my Buy Nothing Family (more on that later). I can learn quickly about community events and opportunities for volunteering.
On the other hand, it is more difficult to meet and make friends with the advent of social media. When you can keep in touch with friends from kindergarten through college and first jobs and etc., there is little motivation to make new friends. It is also very easy for folks to hide behind their screens, reigning judgement, and spouting hatred. Just in this past week alone, there have been intense debates about gun control, healthcare, and other very tough social topics. I have seen name calling, blocking, temper tantrums, and more. It makes me very discouraged about the world in general.
I try to limit my contact with the negative, and put my focus in to person to person connection. I also want to put positivity out into the universe. So I’ll wrap up my thoughts here. I have a dog meme to share on my facebook page.