Social Media = Perfect People

100_0263I have been unofficially studying social media since it first came on the scene: first it was MySpace, then along came Facebook and now Twitter and myriad others. As a result, I am developing a gnawing discomfort with social media even though I quasi- participate in my platforms of choice:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. I should say ‘sort of’ participate as I am weening myself and this essay explains why.

Let it first be said – social media is addictive. Let it second be said – not a damn thing on any of these platforms is real, and that’s what so disturbs me.  When we are ‘on Facebook,’ we’re not living in three-dimensional reality. We’re engaging in one dimension with people who aren’t real because all the gritty, grimy, ugly stuff that makes a person whole is lost among cheery witticisms and snappy snapshots. On social media we become something else. We measure success in the number of friends or followers we have. We lose our real selves among  paint pretty pictures and clever repartee. The implications of this for the future are quite scary indeed.

I read an interesting report recently that claims those of us using Facebook to look up people are actually stalking them! Another report claims that many people become depressed from Facebook. No surprise here because comparing oneself to ‘perfect people’ is indeed demoralizing.

Finally, time spent on social media is time away from interacting with people or engaging in other greater good activities. If you’ve ever seen the movie Wall E, one of my favorite movies of all time, people in the future become fat, unable to walk, and spend their days lying on magically-propelled lounge chairs and talking on video-phones all day. They never engage with one another face-to-face and actually become rather useless. (Though there is a happy ending 🙂 Is this where we’re headed? Into a world where people create false selves that populate platforms where nothing is real and the skills of basic human interaction are lost?WALL_E_fat_chair

As you can see, I’m hot on this topic and agonizing over a decision to close out my accounts and get back to living more simply.

P.S. – I don’t count my blog as social media.

About

An author, a teacher, a candlestick maker? I am lucky enough to have followed my muse through a most eclectic life of many careers, many interests, and many friends and liasions. Two beautiful children, now grown and one their own, several books -- the penultimate accomplishment dream come true, a hores trainer, a college professor, and a stint in corporate America to validate my feelings that I never, ever want to go there again. So I donned my ruby slippers and dared to take those different paths, those diverging paths, and that has made all the difference! (Thank you, Robert!)

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2 comments on “Social Media = Perfect People
  1. Elizabeth Brown says:

    Ah, but I’ve connected with so many people that might have remained off radar. And for this, I applaud FB. It all depends on what you’re posting. There is quality news, articles, sentiments, quotes and pics to share! I feel like those that opt out of FB are missing out. When I like someone’s post, it’s an affirmation I read it, liked it, I heard them. Sharing is a real connection, no matter how it gets done.

    • madmuser says:

      I agree with you that social media opens up a plethora of possibilities for meeting new people. And I also agree that sharing with people is what life is about. Interestingly, I teach college students and the trend for them in the last two years is that if they still have FB, they hardly use it. As for my issues, I am a one-on-one, face-to-face girl and am simply overwhelmed with the choices — good and bad — in social media. The researcher in me also wonders what the impact on this new e-method of building relationships will have on us as a society/culture.

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