I’ve had a few reminders the past week or so of just how much I dislike social media or just how much it goes against the grain of my being. It didn’t always. I did it just like everyone else. I did it for about a decade and loved it when I first joined Facebook, way back when you had to be a college student and your college had to already be in their database to be accepted. Oh wait, do you remember Myspace? That was before Facebook. Was the ‘s’ capitalized? Remember how you could arrange your top 8 favorite ‘friends’ whenever you wanted to? Now that was fun. AOL IM’ing will after school will always be my favorite. People of a certain age will never know what dialing up, making a sandwich, thinking up cool away messages, and talking endlessly about your day to your friends who you just saw an hour ago using fonts like Comic Sans MS or Papyrus is like.
I come from that era. The late 90’s/early 00’s era right on the brink when there was still life without social media. Social media was talking about the latest T.G.I.F shows. Within this past week, I ran into a few friends from this time frame. One was one of my middle school best friends who now lives across the world, but is back here for a while temporarily. It was great to run into her. We were basically roommates during the summers and holidays. She mentioned that she tried to find me recently on Facebook but I’m not on there. She couldn’t find me on any social media except Pinterest so she followed me. (It’s the only one I like and it’s more of a creative/expressive outlet) I said I’m not on any social media, aside from Pinterest, of course. No big deal.
Ok, fast forward a whole twenty minutes later when I ran into another girl from the same time frame. We weren’t nearly as close, but still friendly. She proceeds to spill way too many personal…extremely personal details about her life, as some people tend to do…fast forward to social media… She and the other girl (or rather woman…we are all women not girls) were just talking because they had run into each other before seeing me and the one said she just saw me. Social media came up and they discussed how I’m not on it. This woman said to me they thought I had died or fell of the face of the earth because I was not on Facebook.
What a stupid conclusion to come to…or even to say. We are children of the 90’s. Born of the 80’s. We are closeted BSB and *NSync-er’s (or not in my case…I ❤ them forever), we existed and survived in a world before this ‘stuff’ was even thought of or popular. We didn’t have it in high school. Thank God for that! Why, to their logical or illogical brains would they think that a lack of a social media presence would equate to an individual being dead or irrelevant? UGH.
That’s not even the worst of my disdain for the social media frenzy right now. Here’s the kicker. It was the same day and I found out that another friend, who I’ll say used to be one of my best friends from that time frame and more recently, got engaged. But she didn’t text me or call me. She didn’t tell me at all. I only know because it made it’s way through the grapevine of social media and I was told about it. Imagine the gut punch. I’ll just say it hurt to find out that way. To know I wasn’t on the right list…heck I wasn’t on any list… I wasn’t told at all. I was just told in passing. I felt left out. Left behind. And then I saw her dad later on in the week and he told me again. I had to pretend to not know and act happy for him and not hurt that his daughter chose not to tell me.
Just because I’ve chosen to not be on social media doesn’t mean I think it’s all evil and terrible. Because it does have a place and a time. I understand what it’s for. I studied it in college…I get it…maybe that’s part of what I don’t like about it. It’s built to make you want more of it. I just wish it didn’t eliminate the way most people, as a whole, used to interact. Social media isn’t a substitute for real life conversation or invitation or communication. I think the same can be said for all technology.
Social media wins before human connection. I see it more and more every day. And it’s not necessarily social media, but even just a phone and texting someone else, or a simple need to be distracted instead of seeing the person in front of you…connecting. Human connection and intimacy. I don’t see it very often anymore and when I do it touches me, because it’s slipping away faster than we think it is. And I think society is okay with that. Or at least, it seems that way. There’s a generation of people being raised, and who have been raised already, to interact better with a device than with another person. That is scary to me.