Social Media: We Are All Kids
During lunchtime, as I was walking around looking for a place to eat with my colleagues, I was a bit dishearten that my preferred coffee shop was filled with people. My favourite food and my favourite seat were taken. It was at that moment I noticed a reality. Almost everyone in that shop had their head facing downwards. Whether they were conversing with their colleagues, other half or just eating their food. They were engrossed at their phones. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what were they doing. Checking out what is going on in their social media circles.
Sure, some were taking picture of the food in front of them and some were updating their statuses. Whatever they were doing, they post it up to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. It was then that I realised: every update posted was just a variation of a single request. At that time, the only words formed above their head were “SOMEONE ACKNOWLEDGE ME!”
I am not saying that I was different. Up until now, I am still guilty of doing so. Every day, I cannot look away from the Facebook app in my phone. I will admit that we are lucky enough to live in a time where we can easily share messages across borders. Even better is how fast people response saving a lot of time. Then again, for all the good that came from it, the damage was there too.
From the way I see it, having some kind of response is like getting praise by your parents when you are just a child. We love those attention and as we grow older, it disappear. Well, ‘disappear’ is a very strong word. Evolve seems to fit the bill. However, it is very hard to get such approval from others. One may need to secure a multimillion dollar deal just to get that pat at the back or even win some form of award to get recognised.
These social media channels provide an easier way for people to gain instant gratification. Twitter has ‘@<nickname> retweeted you’ and ‘@<nickname> favourited your tweet’. As for Facebook, it feeds users by allowing other people to ‘Like’, ‘Comment’, and ‘Share’ the updates. Other social networking sites offer similar rewards for those who update. The more of this, the better.
When did this became a norm? How did the number of ‘Likes’ you get replaced the genuine smile from people? There is no better way to say this other than quantity over quality. Face to face interaction being the quality.
Besides, through social media, I am in total control. Whenever possible, I can dictate what others think of me through the things I choose to post. Even the responses from other people are easily contain with the ability to delete or block. If individuals find this keeping them sane, then they are valuing these more than their real life. It is really ironic if you ask me. Facebook was created in an attempt for humans to meet new people and reconnect with old friends. It was meant to broaden our horizons. Not limit it. Seeing that we are only using it just to talk among ourselves, where does this lead us? To the same place.
Taking all that in mind, I ask myself: Am I really afraid of being alone or in a place where no one acknowledge my existence? Presently, the sad truth is yes. While waiting for some event to start, there were many strangers around me. Instead of looking for a new friend, I retreated to my phone and looked at someone familiar.
When we are fully dependent on these social online channels, we are no different from a 5-year old kid craving for attention. Nonetheless, as Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are part of my life; I am taking this opportunity to reinvest in my self-reflection. I want my social networking sites to be an extension of who I really am. Not replacing what I used to be.