You’re certainly not wrong, William. It sort of reminds me of when AOL Instant Messenger was the big new thing on the internet. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember that — AOL Instant Messenger was huge when I was in college, and that was about 15 years ago. But I vividly recall feeling a little uneasy about how popular and addictive it became. I knew people who would sit at their computers in their dorms all day long because they were afraid of missing a new message from someone on their friends list.
Having experienced that, I’m not surprised that people have become so reliant on social media, but it still is disappointing. For me, quality time with your friends means going out to a movie or spending the night playing cards and knocking back a few beers. But for my nieces and nephews, quality time with friends mean trading tweets back and forth. That makes me nervous. It’s very impersonal, and I feel like people are forgetting what it means to have real, genuine relationships with each other.
That being said, I think you and I might disagree one thing. I personally don’t blame the social media companies for how people are using their products. I think we as human beings tend to look for other people to blame for our own mistakes, and our over-reliance on social media is an example of that. In fact, I’m actually working on a piece in which I explain why I don’t think Facebook and Twitter deserve to be blamed for the “fake news” problem. I think the cause of that problem is our own biases; people would rather believe what they want to believe than take the time to seek out the real truth. You see it all the time in politics, and it’s a real shame.
But other than that, I agree that people should at least try to rely a little less on social media and spend more time thinking, doing, and socializing. There’s a lot to experience in life, and not a lot of time to experience it, so hopefully we’ll eventually grow beyond this issue and learn to use social media in a more responsible way.
Anyways, good post! I look forward to reading more from you in the future!