by Danielle Morgan
Recently, I came to the realization that some things have to go. I’m thinking media, more specifically, Facebook. On Saturday, I spent a good seven hours arguing with a long time friend about the Bible--on Facebook and through texting! What?! In my opinion, and certainly after this experience, personal conversations regarding religion and politics should be had in person. Try as we might, there is no way to keep a political or religious debate cordial unless you can hear the other person’s inflections and see that they are not truly attacking you, but rather, your argument. Additionally, one might question how in the world was I able to debate for so long, take care of two children, manage a home, do my homework, and go to the gym. Also, was I really multitasking during this debate or was I duped into believing I was saving time just because I was doing it all from my phone? The reality is that I couldn’t have wasted more time
See, I just joined the world of smartphones. Oh, what a glorious, magical thing to have all of your latest endeavors, calendars and personal statuses sync to each of your devices. With smartphones, you are able to magically have all of your information on your phone wherever you are…oh, Heaven! Oh, pure Hell is more like it! Adding Facebook to the syncing process can become a waste of time and a mess. I would be mortified to find out how much energy alone I personally have additionally spent sending emoticons and on my social media posts and text messages. Even worse than that amount, how many times have I “liked” or “shared” something? How about the number of times I’ve commented or become locked into reading witty jokes on Facebook? That’s right, I can read these one after another and then, before I know it, an hour has gone by. I’d like to wallow in self-pity and say I have a problem, but this is a larger, chronic, and social problem. Is it an obvious problem? Not really. It’s a bunch of tiny little problems that, added up, have sucked half your life away before you know it.
Now, let’s focus on Facebook, or as I like to refer to it, “Fakebook”. I prefer to call it “Fakebook” because people tend to be much different on this social media site than they would be in-person. Through my experiences, the main point of Facebook seems to be to have light, pleasant, non-confrontational social networking. Facebook is supposed to be safe. What makes Facebook dangerous, however, is that we spend more time liking and sharing on “Facebook” than we do nurturing our face-to-face relationships. Gone are the days of coffee shop debates and poetry reading...oh, wait…let me just virtually “share” the information with you. Then, I don’t have to worry about the look on your face if you don’t like it. You can just send me a smiley face and I’ll never know the difference.
I’m getting off track here. The main point I want to make is that we rely too much on technology. The lifestyle change I want is to have no urgent need to get Facebook updates on my phone. Every time I get a tweet sound from my phone I am trained like Pavlov’s dog to go running to it--and that’s not even the whole of it. Then, even if it’s not an urgent text or email, but just a Facebook notification, I am sucked in by curiosity to see what someone’s status could be. Seriously, if I really think about it, what could be so important that it can’t wait? I can think of nothing. Why? Because anyone that I’m close to would call me. Or would they?
One sad example of how social networking is making us anti-social is when my sister-in-law, who is also my close friend, texted me to tell me she is going to be a grandmother times two--both of my nieces are pregnant. Kind of big news you’d want to squeal over the phone to...but maybe she was busy Facebook-ing. The worst part is, without a second thought, I gave into the technology trap and texted her back.
I have spent enough time texting, posting, “liking”, and reading nonsensical garbage on these social networking sites. I have a relatively good balance of real-life and media-life, but that isn’t enough for me. There shouldn’t be a “balance”. Media needs to be secondary to real-time experiences. Instead of shopping, we are “Pinteresting”. Instead of getting up and juicing vegetables ourselves, we are posting sites of healthy recipes and people. Instead of getting into a sport, we are watching parkour videos on YouTube. Instead of working on our parenting skills, we are posting “Love and Logic” on Facebook. Instead of getting together over tea, debating religion and leaving with a hug, we are fighting and “un-friending” on Facebook. Instead of getting together with a person who is sad, we are sending them positive affirmations over the Internet. The time we are spending on social media trying to be the person we want to be, we could be doing that in real-life. That, my friends, is a sad waste of time.
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