Anti-Social Media?

Copyright Clare Ryan-Dodd 201
Copyright Clare Ryan-Dodd 2010

Look at Social Media is brilliant for keeping in touch with globally scattered friends simply and instantly; even more for making friends with like minded people you otherwise may never have met and getting your voice out there. The trouble is these sites can be addictive. Depending on the person, they can fill every spare minute, sometimes resulting in sleep disorders.

Unfortunately cyber bullying, stalking, scams and grooming are rife. Some bullying is rather more subtle than just malicious comments, there appears to be a sense of one-upmanship: This could leave more introverted souls feeling left out and maybe even inadequate. Some of the more subtle bullying may not even be intentional, it could just be a by-product of insensitivity, ignorance or insecurity. People just get caught up in their own heads especially when the ego-massaging starts.

Accidents must be increasing – people rarely look up from their mobile devices and just step out into roads or into others. People don’t seem to be present any more, face-to-face conversations, if started at all, are interrupted by notification beeps and buzzes which obviously can’t wait. This is apparent when traveling by train – some passengers are loathed to follow Quiet Coach etiquette for fear of missing something on such platforms. I am usually confident yet saddened that I’m one of the few people to look out of the window and watch the countryside roll by. Fellow passengers miss out on magical sightings of red kites, fawns, foxes and other wild or domestic creatures, as well as scenery.

Cast your mind back twenty years ago, even the most basic mobile phones weren’t common place – if you weren’t at home/work, people couldn’t reach you. You could check-in with loved ones if passing a payphone but that was it. And we managed! I’m very grateful that I have a mobile but am also amazed that I feel almost naked if I leave it at home these days. I’m not sure it’s healthy to have such an over-reliance on this kind of technology. They seem to have turned into security blankets/transitional objects, yet how else can we communicate that the train is late?!

I will say that I can cope without constantly checking for Social Media Updates – I enjoy a good electronic catch up but prefer face-to-face human connection, telephonic exchange a close second.

CFS permitting, I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy our surroundings more, preferably with some good company.


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