By Kelly Corbett
As a society, we adore social media. Whether we’re double tapping pictures on Instagram, retweeting tweets on Twitter or commenting on statuses on Facebook, checking social media has become a daily ritual for us millennials. We face dilemmas such as, “What filter should I put on my selfie?” or struggle with composing a brilliant tweet in only 140 characters or less.
While social media also allows us to interact with our friends and sometimes even complete strangers, have we become too reliant on it? Have we compensated the value of actually having face-to-face conversations with others, for sending messages to individuals and reading posts from behind our iPhone and laptop screens?
The answer is yes, and while our virtual self may seem to have their communication skills in check, does our actual self?
While social media has made communication simpler, it has also allowed us to avoid actual human interaction. In 2015, if we need to talk to someone, why go see them in person when you can just send them a quick message online? We are relying more on our fingers gliding across our phone screen to type a message rather than using our actual people skills to go out and approach a set person. While we are learning valuable social media skills, we are forgetting social skills. We will not always have the comfort of being able to hide behind a keyboard and screen in life. Although you may be a Twitter fiend now, do you have the communication skills to make connections with others and master an interview after college?
Besides making the ability to get in contact with someone a breeze, social media also allows us to find information in a much easier fashion. While this may seem helpful, it can be distracting.
Why engage in conversation with someone when you can probably learn a chunk about their life just by their tweets on Twitter? Why read all the flyers posted on the bulletin board when you can just look at events on Facebook? Why write down a time, place and location of an event when you can just check it online?
We have compromised our actual human skills for convenience. You can just check the Facebook page later, and chances are while you’re scrolling through that page, you’ll get a notification or maybe someone will chat you. You’ll get sucked into wasting time on social media, typing messages to your friends, instead of typing paragraphs for your term paper.
We put so much confidence into these social media platforms that if the internet were ever down, or our phones malfunctioned, we would miss out on life because we refuse to take in information other than through the Internet.
Without social media, we’d be forced to approach people in person and learn information about others and events through actual, real-world interaction. We may have a strong presence online with a funny Twitter account or an artsy Instagram collection, but at the end of the day, it’s who you are behind the screen that has to succeed in life.
Social media has convenienced us in numerous ways, but do not let it put a handicap on your people skills. Don’t rely on social media for everything, rely on yourself first and social media as a backup.