I have been in a reflective mood lately. I am going to blame it on the changing seasons and living in Texas is a confusing feat all on its own. One week, it’s 75 degrees and sunny to the next week 60 and rainy. It gets so confusing for me; do I pack away my winter clothes and pull out my tee’s and sandals? Oh, the dilemma. Well, anyway back to the subject at hand.
So, I spend A LOT of time on Social Media. Whether it’s Facebook stalking my friends, or looking at fun ideas on Pinterest; and sometimes because I am by myself most of the time (except for my lovely pooches) my thoughts wander, and sometimes they wander into that dark scary place where we don’t need to be going, and sometimes I think about using social media to fancy those dark thoughts and behaviors. So, I had to remind myself what this technology is supposed to be used for.
The Good; I love Pinterest. I can search any topic in the search bar and BAM, there are pictures of exactly what I have been looking for. This is always my starting point when I get a new crazy decorating idea for my home, or for my ever growing wardrobe. I scour the pics and save them in my folders until I have the right idea to create my new masterpiece. Facebook. What a concept! Some guy created a space for college kids to post stuff and who knew what a sensational hit that turned out to be. The guy is a kazillionaire now and it is still widely used by millions of people every day. From Grandma, keeping tabs on her family, friends we went to high school with and still keep in touch, to co-workers we enjoy spending time with, to business acquaintances’ and who knows what else. We can share our cats sleeping in the strangest places, what we had for dinner last night, even if we want to gather up our friends for a joy ride on Saturday, we can. It’s all there right at our fingertips. There’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and I am sure a hundred more I don’t even know about. It is a great way to share our stories and culture for everyone all around the world to see.
The Bad; We all have cell phones. And all of our phones are connected to our favorite media site. We see something cool, our first reaction is ‘Take a pic! So I can share it!’ Just think how far technology has come in the last 40 years. Star Trek had some insight when Gene Roddenberry wrote that show. I’ll tell you what! Too bad all this knowledge is being used for toys instead of important things. (there I go wandering off again.) But, since we have all this tech and social media at our fingertips, is it affecting humanity? The old joke of kids sitting in the same room, texting instead of interacting with each other, has become more of a reality than we would like to see. And everything has become ‘picture perfect’, has this added more shame, and self-consciousness of our youth and peers which causes more stress and anxiety within ourselves to be picture perfect? Relationships on every level, have something that they compare themselves with, wondering if theirs’ is ‘normal’? And, of course, the most obvious; acknowledgment of the person standing in front of us, or rather, lack of. Texting while we purchase our goods and services, completely ignoring that human right there. Or worse; Facebooking while driving down the road. Eeeek! We are completely missing,( that isn’t digital,) what is going on all around us. Even my pooches tap the phone with their paw that is in my hand, coaxing me to pay attention to them instead of staring at that glowy thing.
The Ugly; Unfortunately, we as humans all have a dark and scary thing that lives inside of us. Even with all of our knowledge and common sense, it sometimes summons us, lurking in the dark shadow in that corner we are supposed to ignore. And now, we have an even greater tool to satisfy that evil beasts’ hunger if we dare choose to acknowledge its plight. We have even coined terms for this behavior; Cyber bullying, stalking, trolling, slander, I am sure there are many more. We can post YouTube videos of people being beaten, or ridiculed, we can take segments of videos and copy and paste to change and distort. We can troll or bully people on every media site there is, with such great speed and harm and we can even do it anonymously. We can search anyone that has an account and stalk them and steal away their privacy. We can post anger and bad behavior. We can harm people with our snake lashing tongues just as easily as it is for me to type these words right now.
Social Media and technology have made it easier for us to reach out to every corner of this planet and to all of the people living in those corners as well, and this is a great thing! We can have a better understanding of all the different cultures and ways of life than we ever had before. But, social media and technology have also made it easier to harm and to forget about humanity as a whole. We need to be aware of our surroundings and the people (and pooches) that are right here with us. Always use media technology in moderation and in a positive manner and ignore once again that evil beast lurking in the shadows.
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