Fri 01 November 2013

Friends, Family, and Social Media - Pros, and Cons

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Routine and tagged with social media
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The explosion of Social Media and keeping up.

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With the explosion of social media, and the advent of applications like Facebook, Skype, Pinterest, Twitter, and more, distance is no longer a barrier to communication. Not too many years ago, the only way to keep in touch with family and friends, was via letters, now often referred to as 'snail mail'. Email filled in the gap for a few years, but that too, is fading as a preferred means of keeping in touch.

November is a month that especially reminds me of my family. My sister's and son's birthdays both fall in November, while my daughter's was back in September. Though I live a long way from them, I still get to see a lot of what they're doing thanks to these new social media outlets. I enjoy perusing my daughter's Facebook page, and the photos of her daughter, my granddaughter. I love to read the posts my children leave, and yes even though they are adults now, they're still my children. :)

Social media is not just a great way to chat with family and friends, it opens up a whole new world of marketing opportunities. Everything from grandma's secret cake recipe, to videos of the latest songs by popular artists. We are bombarded daily by information. Gone are the days when we would get home from work and find a letter from a distant relative. Now we get home to find dozens of messages across a variety of platforms.

How do we sift through all of this? We speedily read through emails, tweets, pictures, and Facebook posts. A problem with all of this social media is that we are in danger of losing our personal touch. The written word is notorious for being an ineffective way of explaining how we feel. Many friendships are digital only now, with parties never meeting face to face. When a person types, 'I am fine,' does it convey the tiredness? What about the dark circles under their eyes, or the mild sigh that goes with the words? No! 'I am fine,' means different things to different people, but added to the expression and demeanor of the speaker, we all know that the person is merely putting on a brave face.

A sad element to this new age of digital friendships is that young people are becoming less aware of the impact their words can have. A person that is teased at school, would in the past be able to go home, and escape the torment. But not anymore! This same person today can find themselves continually bombarded, and no longer have a safe haven, or an escape. Words spoken can on time fade into a distant memory and perhaps even be forgotten, but not in this digital age. Harsh words stay, and can be shared over and over. The worst part of this, is that the person typing the hostile words, may not even realize the harm they're causing, until they too, become a victim.

What should we all do about negative social media? That is a very tough debate, and one that I will not tackle here today. But I do invite folks to add their words. In the meantime, I shall use these wonderful technologies to keep in touch with my friends and family.

 

Take it easy mates.

James Jackson