Unfortunately, social networking has begun
to divide us more than unite us
By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak
It’s everywhere. No matter where you go, what you do, or who you talk to, the craze of social media is there to follow you. Programs like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat were originally meant to help bring people closer together, but as these sites have grown, they have begun to tear their user’s personal relationships apart.
People have an innate sense of wanting to be loved by those around them. Being around someone who shares a bond with you can provide a sense of physical belonging and happiness needed to live a healthy life. Social media creates the misconception that interaction through the internet is just as good as authentic interaction. Texting or snapchatting someone can be a great way to get to know someone, but it is nothing compared to actually doing physical activity with someone else. Talking to someone face-to-face makes the relationship more personal and meaningful. You get to see the person for who they truly are, rather than how they portray themselves through their phones. Getting to know the unique qualities and mannerisms that makes that special someone special and amazing is impossible to do without physical interaction. Also, some people feel more comfortable when they communicate through a screen. This can lead to people intentionally avoiding human interaction since they are not comfortable with actually talking to someone else.
This has caused problems in how people perceive each other through social media compared to real life. When seeing someone’s profile for the first time, all they are subjected to is the pictures and posts that person wishes to share about themselves to the world. It completely hides their flaws, presenting an idealized form of themselves. This creates a false sense of who a person is, and makes them seem better than they actually are. Everyone has their little quirks, but because social media accounts can hide them, it has become the new standard to try and look as perfect and happy as possible. When meeting someone new for the first time, initially you can’t help but feel disappointed when they are inevitably not as good as their online account made them out to be.
It should also be noted that people are able to use social media as an escape from their regular lives. If a date is not going well, or if there is nothing to do at a friend’s house, all you have to do is open up your phone and escape into your own little world. When it’s that easy to avoid a problem, people will rarely ever face conflict. Working out a difficulty with a partner is a great way to build your relationship with them. Social media takes away this bonding experience and makes problems even harder to solve. Interpersonal communication isn’t just important for romantic relationships, but is important for all aspects of life.
Even though social media creates false expectations and takes away physical interaction, it does have some redeeming factors. It is a great way for businesses to market themselves to the world. This has allowed smaller businesses to have access to a larger audience base and speak to their customers on a more personal level. Also, it makes it easier for people who live far away from each other to keep in touch and stay connected. However, in the end, social media creates more problems than it solves.