Massively successful social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat each have millions upon millions of users from all walks of life, constantly sharing their personal lives and other thoughts online. As users are able to upload content on these sites, their followers are also able to react to posts by liking, sharing, or commenting. This makes getting information and personal gravitation instant at their fingertips. With reactions that fast, how can one not want to check up on their social media every once in a while? The real question is, how often is every once in a while?
A recent Santa Monica College poll said that 15 out of 32 students check social media every hour of the day. SMC Film major Sigrun Mathiesen said, “it’s harder to talk to people in person because it’s more personal. On social media if you’re rejected you don’t get awkward like you would in person.” Sigrun is from Iceland and thinks social media is a good way to stay in touch with family and friends, but she would much rather talk to them in person. She believes one does not get the best interactions with people on social media and anyone can pretend to be someone else behind the screen.
When in a crowded room, restaurant, or event, how many people can be counted on their phone? As a society, it seems that we spend more time refreshing our screens, rather than taking a moment and having a rewarding or informative conversation with someone who is right in front of us. SMC Philosophy major Herbert Reyes said, “When I’m out with family or friends and I see everyone on their phones and I don’t have mine, it makes me wonder why I’m still going out with these people. It’s just a matter of respect.” Herbert states that social media does not affect his everyday life, and that he can go weeks without a phone.
In Peru, where Herbert Reyes grew up, he would play outside until night time, but today there are more kids playing inside than out. “Parents here, as far as I can tell, 80% of them don’t have time to spend with their kids so they try to compensate in some other way that actually makes them very antisocial. It keeps getting worse with age. As a culture it has to start from home at an early age, you can’t just change at any age. Once you grow up it sticks with you” said Reyes.
Social media can be used as a beneficial tool, for example getting quick answers, talking to a friend or family member you do not get to see on a daily basis, or getting information. However, it can also blind us from what is going on outside of the digital world. It is important to remind ourselves, there is a time and a place to browse through our feeds. Do not let that take away from the moments spent with others.