Now that I have your attention, I want to tell you that I think that is a big fat lie.
Social media is not killing us. It’s merely changing us. Much like the printing press or the automobile, social media has opened the world to interactions and the spread of information that it has never seen before. And just like those inventions, social media comes with unintended consequences.
I see people all the time yelling that the sky is falling because kids these days do nothing but stare at screens. When I was a kid it was the TV, prior generations it was rock music and cars. “They” probably probably claimed books were killing kids at one point in time.
It doesn’t take much of a Google search to find conspiracy theory posts about Mark Zuckerberg trying to suck data out of us and control our minds with strategically placed advertisements.
I hate to tell you conspiracy theorists: Advertisements have been around forever, and in abundance.
There is no conspriracy to steal your soul. Ad execs just want your money. And guess what? You volunteer it to them, in exchange for whatever good or service they are offering in their ads. There is a reason Facebook is free, it makes plenty of money from advertisers. If anything, you should be thanking them for the free service, since you never have to spend a dime on any of it. And guess what? You can leave it at any time.
I’ve gotten to the point where I see so many ads that I don’t even notice them anymore. It’s just background noise to me. Oddly enough, on the rare occasion I see a TV commercial I’m actually sucked in. Print ads just don’t work on me.
“It’s not the ads, it’s the lack of community.” Abundant are the complaints about people being sucked into screens. Most of the whiners claim that it’s robbing us of the ability to have community.
While it is annoying to have loved ones sucked into their phones all the time (they have a name for it: Pphubbing), I have actually found many communities with social media that I probably never would have had I been trapped in the homogeneity of my local neighborhood. Social media has allowed me to interact with people on the other side of the world. My impact on their world and their impact on mine is greatly magnified by this invention (not that my impact is much anyway, but I think you get the point). What other generation can claim as much actual interaction with international cultures as we can today?
Social media is just a tool. Tools are only as evil as their users. There are certainly evil people out there on the interwebs. But there are evil people in your grocery stores, your street corners, and even in your own family. Do you avoid all of these things? No, you just act with caution. You keep an eye on people and understand that sometimes they will hurt you. But most of the time they are just there to live their lives in peace.
Is social media killing us? I don’t think it is. Let me know what you think below.