Social Media: A Balanced Approach

Social Media is a great tool for communication and connecting with friends and relatives who you don’t see on a daily basis.  However, it can take the place of intimate connection.  Here are a few observations I have about social media and its dangers.

  1. Social Media has shortened our attention span:  It appears reading short snippets of information are more interesting to people than pages of information.  We are turning into a culture where nothing can hold our attention for very long.  This can hurt us from being good listeners and ultimately affect our relationships.  Relationships require time and active listening.  In order to have a genuine connection with someone you must learn to listen.  When we are distracted all the time and jumping from one thing to the next it keeps us from developing our focus and attention on growing relationships.  Don’t let social media get in your way of relationships.
  2. Social Media is the great equalizer: Everyone has a voice due to the internet and social media.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing.   Not everything you read has validity and credibility.  However, what we read can negatively influence our thoughts.  Remember, don’t believe everything you read.
  3. Social Media encourages Superficial Relationships: With access to Facebook and other social networking sites, people tend to shift their conversations from the phone and meeting face to face to short chats on-line. It has become commonplace to break up with someone or have an argument by text rather than in person.  Interpersonal relationships have been compromised by the superficiality of social media.  When you have something difficult to say to someone make sure you say it to them face to face.
  4. Social Media replaces physical presence in each other’s lives: Social media encourages us to interact on the computer or phone rather than in real life.  This type of interaction can replace face to face interaction which isn’t healthy or good for relationships.  Take the time to meet with friends and family so it builds your relationships.  Don’t rely on your social media interactions to replace face to face time.
  5. Social Media requires less so we give less:  It doesn’t take much energy to “like” something on Facebook or look at someone’s pictures.  There is no commitment required.  You have to invest more of yourself when you are with someone face to face. The dangers in relying on Facebook for your social interactions is there is potential for less connection and intimacy therefore creating a more superficial relationship.  Building close relationships takes effort.

Social media is a great tool to enhance your social life but it doesn’t take the place of face to face relationships.  Make sure you take the time to talk to your friends either on the phone or in person. The key to emotional health is having close relationships you can count on.  That means you need to invest the time and focus on building those relationships.

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