Social Media could be effectively making us LESS social. Like many others my age, I am connected through some form of social media at most times of the day; however, I have become increasingly put off by this reality. I feel the quality of face-to-face interactions are diminished by excessive communication with those not present and/or checking multiple "feeds". The amount of times that my conversations have been tacitly put on hold in order to text others are staggering. Recently, I've been setting down my phone when around others and notice how truly disconnected people are. It's easy to miss the finer details of what's going on around you when you aren't fully present in it.
According to this survey of adults aged 18-44, 25% say that they can't think of a time when their phone wasn't right by them throughout their day. I wouldn't be surprised if this percentage was heavily weighted towards the lower end of the age range.
Most of us were raised with a set of manners which calls for being attentive to others and an active listener. Smartphones and social media have, in my opinion, helped to deteriorate these inherent social norms and have made what would once be rude, commonplace. One could argue that social media allows them to share what is currently happening to friends/family in other locations, thus being more social. Ironically, another survey finds that 24% of people have missed important events while they were busy trying to post about them! I find this hilarious (if not sad) and believe it is very telling of the grip social media has on us. It is impossible to be fully in-tune with one's surroundings while multitasking on a smartphone.
Social media and smartphones have undoubtedly enabled us to maintain connections with a much larger network, but how do we prevent it from demeaning our face-to-face interactions? Should there, or could there be a set of informal "rules" that govern social media use? Surely not every text needs to be responded to immediately and not every post needs to be viewed the second it shows up in our news feeds.