It’s A Social Media Take-Over…DUCK!

So, Enough of the MOJO posts like sex and petunias and makeup…It’s time for a…

WTF!


The Social Media explosion…is it good for the human race or bad?

Facebook, Twitter, Triberr, Google, and MySpace are some of the more popular. But they are just the cream of some of the other 206 sites listed online…Academia.edu, aNobii, Black Planet, Buzznet, Flicker, Gays.com, Vampirefreaks.com, Pinterest, wooxi, The Sphere…and so on and so on and so on.

There are social media sites for all ages and all interests.  Technology is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?  We have access to people and information and group support that we would never have had before the technological boom in the Nineteen Eighties. It’s a wonderful way of sharing information. 

But are we sharing ourselves?

When I was in my teens, if I wanted to talk to my friends, I had to walk to their house and talk in person, see them in school or call them on a rotary phone (with a 2 foot spiral cord that allowed no privacy for conversations what-so-ever).  My words as well as my voice, my intonations – most often my body language – was part of my social interaction. I was perceived as a sum of all my parts: physical, mental, and emotional.  It was never just about the words.

Somehow, I can’t see Harry getting the full effect of Sally’s Big O conversation

 on Facebook… 

 

Is social media helping us as human beings or hurting us?

Human beings need social and physical interaction. We are a ‘pack critter.’ We need human interaction to fulfill our psycho-social needs. We need real human interaction to grow. Social isolation is detrimental to our emotional health.  

But isn’t being on Facebook considered social?

Many of us, being writers or lovers of the written word, know how difficult it is to portray in a sentence exactly what we want to say, or what we want our reader to hear, feel, and experience.  So, is social media and a dependency on nothing but the written word a good thing for society? 

I’m thinking, not so much. 

Food for thought:

School districts are looking into saving money by creating online schooling options for grades K-12.  Colleges are already doing this.

What will children learn by sitting home alone taking all their classes online? Reading. Writing. Arithmetic.

What happens to the important lessons children need to learn, at this important time in their development, to become productive members of society? 


Coping Mechanisms, handling conflict when another student cuts in line, dealing with disappointment when the lunch menu changes, diffusing confrontation when another student calls the child a name, sharing toys, teamwork on class projects, compassion when another child sits at the desk next to them and cries?  What happens to all these important lessons? 

You can’t teach these things online…these things need to be experienced face to face.  Parents may want to protect their children from everything, pave the way so there are no challenges or upsets in the child’s life, but this is not beneficial to anyone.  Life needs to be lived and children need to learn from experience and guidance how to handle the bumps in the road.

How easy is it for a kid to post a ‘nasty gram’ to 72 people to share, without feeling the repercussion or seeing the face of the other kid for whom the nasty gram is targeted?  How beneficial is it for kids to sit and post picture after picture of themselves in the hopes of inciting 27 ‘likes’ for the sake of an ego boost?   

This wouldn’t be such a such an easy conversations to have in person…

Adults, many living solitary lives, will certainly increase their contacts and their access to information, but what is going to be the fall-out of this convenience of online socializing, shopping, paying bills, banking…?

I have a dear neighbor, Ms. X…a single middle-aged woman, overweight, shy, very few friends.  In the past 5 years, after buying her first computer, she has become addicted to social websites.  Her favorite – shopping sites.  She has not seen her refrigerator in over 11 months due to the hoarding of package after package.  I needed to clear a pathway for her so we could find the source of a smell that began to permeate from the months of leftover food in her fridge and on her counters. 

 This poor thing had put herself into a self-induced technological  isolation.  Her children didn’t visit, she chose  computer socialization over personal invitations by her co-workers and friends.  She became a captive of her own obsession.

Now, this isn’t to say this would happen to all people, but how many other Ms. X’s are out there?  People who spend hours on the computer instead of walking outside, conversing face to face, attending social events, doing charity work…

Social Media has definitely put Americans in a technological stupor.  We’re developing generations of children who are emotionally cut off from each other. 

 Children are capable of feeling little or no remorse over cyber bullying, teasing, insulting, and berating all because when the texter/poster is not present to receive ‘the whole effect’ of the person they are intending the words for, they become protected from the human emotion invoked.  By ‘whole effect’ I mean the body language, facial expressions, immediate emotional response with which we learn from.

It’s a ‘SHOW DON’T TELL’ lesson for all of us. 

 Live life away from your computer as much as you can and reap the benefits of some real human contact.  Sometimes painful, sometimes pleasurable, but most definitely necessary for the good of the whole. 

Farmville isn’t real people. 

That old man down the street trying to mow his lawn is though…Go talk to him, or better yet, help him out!

What are your thoughts? Are we destined for a technological meltdown? Is all this technology making the world a better place?

Do you think growing up before the techno-boom prepared us to be better members of society than growing up now?

And don’t get me going on what the government knows about you from your online presence.  We’ll save that for another post.

Stay real…Love you all, Josie    

Comments

  1. Josie, I’m so glad you brought this up. I was thinking about doing something a little similar along the lines of “love the one you’re with” – WITH being the operative word. I’m not really sure where I fall on all of this, as I do LOVE Facebook and I regularly text, but I view most other social media I’m on as necessary evils.

    My husband doesn’t do any social media, mostly because of his work–people are in his face all day long. When he comes home, he wants to shut it all off. But one of the things that I totally love about him is that when you talk to him, you have his ENTIRE attention. He’s not looking at his phone, the TV, or reading the newspaper. This is what I think we’re losing in the world today. And I am so guilty of this – watching my phone, etc.

    I’ve also begun to wonder if I shouldn’t bring my iPad to bed to read. A few weeks ago, he told me he misses us just falling asleep together. :( I need to figure out a more healthy balance. For my writing, my family and my sanity.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey Misty! You know why I had to write this…because Im a total social media flunkie! Im terrible at it but mostly because I dont have enought time! I liked it much better when things were simple but then again….I wouldnt have met you!!!!!!
      Time managment is the key I guess. I read in bed too…My DH is on the same wave length as your DH. Maybe a compromise? We’ll give them the weekends…
      And you are so right….the distraction level of people these days due to phones and ipads etc….Nobody notices anything anymore! We are so distracted! Ughhh…
      Love you! J
      PS…checked out my gravatar?

  2. Well said, Josie. This is why I chose not to have a cell phone. It’s a sad state of affairs when being together is more about being in the same place at the same time rather than looking someone in the eyes and seeing their smile.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Oh Joan, That is poetry to my ears! You and I are the minority Im afraid! I JUST got a cell phone and only so my kids can get ahold of me. Im HORRIBLE at texting and only do it if absolutely neccessary. Ive heard from teachers and coaches that they are seeing a whole new generation of kids that are completely inept at speaking with people in person. No eye contact, they can’t find the words, public speaking is getting even more challenging for them due to all the technology related communication. Hey, at least we are creating a generation of damn good typists. Who the hell needs people who can relate to people and communicate effectively?
      Here’s to being real, in person, and living in the moment!
      Love, J

      • Good typists? Only with their thumbs! :)

      • The no eye contact thing is my pet peeve. I tell my kids (1st & 3rd graders) how important this is all the time! “Yeah, yeah, mom, we know. Look them in the eye…” :)

      • My Sweetie insisted on me updating to a smart phone when I couldn’t even use the dumb phone appropriately. The smart phone sits in my purse until my daughter uses it to play ANGRY BIRDS.

        Because I work with teens, I find they do not make eye contact, they can not make casual conversation, and often they will side by side and text each other. It is quite common to break up via text, but more often they just quit answering texts and the guy gets clue.

        It is too easy to commit social suicide with sexting, Facebook, and Twitter. I have students who keep two Facebook accounts one with their normal name for relatives, and another with their cool name, which they often use to cyberbully.

        I have people following me that I might be afraid to meet, but hey…at least they are following me!

        On the plus side, technology allows me to meet all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, and I would like to meet you in person.

        • Josie Matthews says:

          I would love to have all you girls come to NY for a visit with me…We could have sooo much fun!
          Your input on the teens is so eye opening! It’s such a sad state of affairs…What is the future going to be like!! I have an iphone and its SUCH a waste of money on someone like me. All I do is call my kids and hubby and they call me. I cant even find the time to figure the damn thing out. My house is innundated with Reference guides to technology stufffff. Dont even get me going on how to program the universal remote…
          Maybe you and I could figure out how to do that Words with Friends thing and play together! HA!
          Love you Morgan!
          J

  3. Great post, Josie. I agree that this is a real problem. I’m somewhat isolated in ND, stay at home and write, edit, do promo and marketing for my books…but I always go out for lunch. And a walk if it’s nice. Maybe I only interact with my server, and my husband when he gets home, but at least it’s some interaction.
    I think this is a very scary problem.
    L. j.

    • Right, Lucie, what’s going to happen in future generations if things are already this way? People who can actually communicate well will be in high demand in the workplace I think. It will be an interesting scenario from a sociological perspective.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey LJ, Well maybe you just need to move back to NY to be closer to me so I can get you out more!!!! If I didnt have a full time job outside the home I think I could easily become a recluse…But its the kids I worry most about. And its only gonna get worse Im afraid. Public schools and teachers are being attacked because of the frustration over taxes and budget demands…online schooling is on the horizon…scary….
      Love J

      • Let me tell you about online schooling…it doesn’t work. My boss is a big proponent of put a kid in front of a computer and he’ll learn. Using this theory, we got some of the lowest test scores in the state…trust me they were low. You need teachers to spark, motivate and stretch students. Many complaints came from students that the programs were boring. They ignored the online teacher. They found ways to hack into the program and cheat. Online schooling must get a lot better than this to have any value.

        • Josie Matthews says:

          I would actually have to hang myself if I was forced to do online schooling…I cant find anything more non-motivating than learning from a computer. Im a live and up-front kind-of girl… I so agree with you Morgan…The problem in NY is the standards are high…the school taxes are exhorbitant (I pay $10,000 per year!) and the teachers suffer because the budgets keep getting voted down and they keep losing programs! With this ‘recession’ im afraid tax payers are all about the money and nothing about the kids….unless they have a kids in school.
          Morgan, where and what do you teach?

  4. Nikki Weston says:

    Hi Josie,

    yep there really is a plethora of social media sites – it threatens to take over our lives if we’re not careful ;-) I wish more people realised that ‘Farmville isn’t real’, and to be honest I worry about my kid’s generation, how they’re going to deal with this kind of society. Doing my best to make life about people, hearts and feelings, rather than posts and games.

    Loved the article, thanks a lot!
    Nikki.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Nikki, You are so welcome! Just my humble opinion. But I am missing the days when you got a nice handwritten letter in the mail! It was so exciting wasn’t it? I can’t believe people actually have the time to play Farmville and Angry Birds and whatever the heck is out there!!!!
      Live in the moment, BE in the moment. Multitasking isn’t all its cracked up to be.
      Have a great day and thanks for stopping in!
      Love, J

      • Nikki Weston says:

        There’s a game called ‘Angry Birds’? Oh dear… things are worse than I thought LOL
        Nikki.

        • Josie Matthews says:

          The worst part about Angry Birds, Nikki, is that millions of kids and adults are addicted to this stupid game and all it is is online ‘pinball’ You shoot things with birds and pigs and I dont know what else is done since I’ve never played it but I’ve actually heard adults say to me ‘Oh I love that game…I spend hours playing it!’ WTF!!!! (sorry for the bad….acronym, but it amazes me!)

    • “Doing my best to make life about people, hearts and feelings, rather than posts and games. ”

      I love that!!

  5. Hey you two – stopped by briefly yesterday but had too many things going on in the social media world to stay long enough to leave a comment. hehehe.

    Social Media is here to stay. Having said that, I’m grateful you are bringing up this concern as there will be opportunities to adjust with this awareness. People with only one child has the potential to suffer the most as two children take care of some of those things you are referring to…sibling rivalry and all that. Sports will take care of many things too as well as school activities that require interaction, i.e. choir, physical education, games, cheerleading, speech and debate type classes.

    The biggest threat lies between the parent and child interaction and this is where parent guidance will be able to flourish whereas before shipping a child off to a friend’s house hobbled that ability – now they can facebook and skype, face-time with their friends and still have the guardianship from parents. Classroom participation will be redefined and teacher’s will adjust by paying special attention to physical social interaction.

    Overall, I wouldn’t be too worried. People can’t stray far – as history does repeat itself over and over again. Look at the current fashion…I feel like I’m reliving my high school days. A lot going on today also includes teenagers now abstaining from sex – another cycle. I think society will adjust to preserve what you are talking about.

    One of the positives about social media…we had an earthquake the other day and it was kinda scary. The very second it happened, I jumped on to Twitter and not only found out how big the earthquake but where it was, I found comfort and assurance by all those others on line who were scared and sharing the experience. It really helped.

    You guys rock! Thanks for all the thought-provoking blogs. It’s never boring at the chickswagger hangout.

    • Karen, I love your optimism. Thank you for that!! You make a very interesting point about history repeating itself, and the current generation always thinking the next generation is going to hell in a handbasket. So true. I love how you always share your unique perspectives! :)

    • Josie Matthews says:

      I also love your thoughts on history repeating itself! You are right…somehow we always survive. I just hope Palazzo Pants dont come back…they make my legs look sausagey…

      Love you KC!

      • Hey, Josie! I own a pair of Palazzo Capri Pants I bought in Sicily a couple of years ago!! lol

        • Josie Matthews says:

          OMG! The last pair I had was in sixth grade! A nice grey pair , hiphuggers with 4 snaps and a checkboard pattern. I had NO business wearing them, but at the time Im sure I thought I was ‘the bomb!’

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