Social Media has made the entire world a much more interconnected place and particularly, severely easing global/remote connections. And being on social media since 2008 has taught me a lot of lessons!
1. On the internet you can be anything you want. A lot of people have different personalities online and offline. The cyber walls have created a facade of security for people to be whoever they want. It Is terrifying how superficial social media has become. People will only post their best moments, filtered images to portray the ideal person they want to be. But who doesn’t want to be seen in their best light? To hide our flaws and magnify our strengths? To show the exciting and best times of our lives? Social media has inadvertently become a platform where we paint ourselves in the most superficial art form,illustrating the distance between reality and our cultivated digital persona.
2. Social media has made us unsocial.I look around and everyone literally everyone around me is looking down at their phones. Even if I force myself and try to keep my phone away, I find myself looking back at it again. We have become bad listeners and no longer treasure conversations.There is nothing more irritating than being halfway through a story when you realize your friend is scrolling through her Facebook NewsFeed or Twitter feed.It is making us less aware of our immediate surroundings, including those who are immediately around us.I actually believe that although Social Media seems to be the culprit behind this social phenomena, it is the concept of MOBILE that is causing the problem more directly. Actually, laptops and tablets would not cause the same level of distraction, nor would they force people to remain constantly plugged in; its just that when someone checks their phone, even if its just for the time, curiosity about notifications, various social networks, etc. tends to make us stay on our phones for much longer than what we originally anticipated.
3.With so much clutter on the Internet its difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction.Claims without evidence are suitable arguments. If anyone calls B.S you can put the burden of proof on them and make straw men arguments all the while keeping your dignity. People’s principles are flimsy as cardboard and the internet has cut out all the middle men between propaganda creator and consumer.
4. Keep your relationship private. Whatever issues you might have in your relationship/marriage should be kept from social media. Putting it out there will give irrelevant and nonfactors the right to interfere with unsolicited advice and mockery. It is toxic to your relationship and it will become a station of mockery and a circus of amusement for trolls.
5. Never take relationship advice from the internet. There are a lot of self proclaimed “Dr. Phils” and ” Steve Harveys” who love to proffer their “expert” advice on relationships and what not. It is wise to ignore these couch quarterback professionals and actually visit your mother or an actual professional. What works for someone else, might not work for you because human beings have different standards/expectations .We are wired differently so try not to gobble up everything you read on social media. There is a direct correlation between number of motivation/success quotes and total lack of action/success.
6. Social media has become more like high school. We have adults seeking validation and approval from the cool kids. It has become cliquey and everyone is striving to belong.Also a tendency of trying to please people for retweets and likes. This kind of pressure is unnecessary because social media popularity does not equal to self worth. I have learnt to sit back and pick relative conversations without losing myself in the wave of relevance.
7. Mob psychology has sunk its teeth in social media. Say what the crowd wants to hear or you will be attacked and insulted. Negative or positive if the people agree to an opinion no other opinion shall be formed against it. Its a stifling and undemocratic exploitation of the minority.Offer your unpopular opinion ignore the rest,everyone has the right to freedom of speech!
8. Most of the time arguing on the internet is a waste of time and energy.A lot of people with different opinions in the world and as silly or ignorant as I find some of them, it does no good to try and convince someone to see your point of view over the internet. Its like playing tennis against the wall. You are going to lose. At times it is a bad case of miscommunication. While political or personal discussions used to be had in person with emotion and expression involved, nowadays a simple Facebook post could become a public outcry. Even seemingly innocent posts can be misconstrued into something they are not.
9. From the dark corners beyond the anonymity of cyber walls, we have trolls and cyber bullies. These people i would like to believe that they suffer from deep inbred psychological issues. Instead of taking it up with Jesus the turn into keyboard terrorists. Now, there is a time I slandered this girl on twitter and some guy phoned me to tell me that this girl was actually crying. It really goes deep, people have committed suicide and some even fell into depression. I will never troll or slander in the name of ‘Its just social media.’ The best way to handle a cyber bully is to ignore the shit out of them and leave them looking like the fool that they are. In this case, no reaction is the best reaction.
10. Social media is awesome.Its a place where you can meet new people, long lost friends, learn, interact and share ideas. From the internet they have been births to a lot of great initiatives for example ‘Twimbos Giving Hope’, an initiative by Zimbabweans on Twitter to help orphans and underprivileged children. Movements to empower women, associations for bloggers etc. It is also a great marketing tool to reach an audience for your product/service. Almost everyone is on social media and the greatest lesson i have learnt is to be myself and take advantage of social media to cause a positive influence.