Today at work, a colleague of mine stated that she had suspended one of her social media accounts because she got into a random argument with a stranger on some political page and it really shook her up. Additionally, she feels that she has become a slave to checking her profile on her smartphone excessively. Ironically, as she shared this with me, she was busy checking out another one of her social media accounts on her phone.
After our conversation, I began to reflect on my own love-hate relationship with social media. It’s no secret that I am a staunch supporter of interacting on multiple platforms and of using social media as a tool for engaging others in your brand. However, at what point do we become consumed by our daily musings and exchanges there? Although there are many benefits to being active on social media, it does have its downfalls too. The question then becomes, are we addicted to social media?
In order to answer this question, we have to be honest with ourselves and others about exactly how why and how much we use these platforms. Chances are, if you are a business-minded and engaging individual like myself, you check your social media accounts the moment you wake up in the morning. There is no such thing as disconnecting for long periods of time from social media, after all, you are only as relevant as your last post or tweet.
We pretty much live our lives on social media from the tragedies to the triumphs. Our lives are told through words as well as through a never-ending stream of photos, memes, and videos. Reunions have basically become obsolete due to being able to catch up with someone whom you haven’t seen in years within a matter of minutes by checking out their profile. As a matter of fact, the new generation doesn’t even know about any other way of maintaining correspondence besides email and messaging.
I’m going to say that we are most definitely addicted to social media. It is the lens into the lives of others that the basic curiosity of human nature causes us to crave. For the entrepreneur, it is the limitless opportunity to reach an infinite market. Social media meets every need and satisfies every craving. Unfortunately, it will never take the place of a warm handshake, eyes locking in a gaze, a smile of mutual respect and understanding, or the intimacy of meeting someone face to face.
As long as we remember that social media is only a tool that facilitates all of these things, it will never entirely consume our social interactions. There is still something to be said for being engaging in real life and for establishing a variety of interpersonal relationships. The core of lasting personal and business relationships lies in the bonds that we forge beyond social media in the real world outside of our computer screens.
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