Anti Social Media
No, I don't mean that I'm opposed to social media. However, I've become aware of a weird trend that's grown up around it. You're probably used to your parents or grandparents saying that things are moving too quickly, far too quickly for them to keep up. Yes, it can make them sound old, but we're experiencing the same thing with social media. We're still learning how to use it, and how to integrate it in a socially acceptable way. What I've seen tells me that it's moving too fast for us to keep up.
Social Media Friends
What's the most important thing when you go to meet friends? Having a good time, enjoying their company, feeling good about getting out, or simply feeling good in general, right? As new forms of communication have been invented, we've become incapable of leaving them alone. I thought that it was sad to see a couple having dinner together, facing each over the table, and both of them on their phones texting. I've now seen something worse.
Imagine a group of friends together. They've gone to meet at a cafe, pub, or restaurant. If you saw them arrive you'd probably expect them to be having a good time together. You might expect to hear them talking, laughing, teasing each other, all the usual friend stuff. Imagine instead that all of them sit round a table, staring at their phones, occasionally showing one another something on their phones and laughing together, before going back to checking their timeline. Welcome to what I've heard called a 'Facebook Party'. This is pretty abnormal behaviour for social creatures: to gather in number in the same place and not communicate with each other. I'm autistic and don't understand many rules of social behaviour, but even I know that's weird.
It's advanced so far and become so pervasive that some people have lost touch with normal rules of social behaviour. They seem so enraptured by incredible images of places most of us have never seen, to news, to endless memes, that the thought that they might miss something seems to make them anxious.
They've lost touch with something obvious: what you can see right in front of you, who you can speak to right now, what you can taste, smell, and hear is far richer than any photo, video, or meme. Ahead of traveling to Paris I had no idea just how strongly it would affect me. But I miss my landlady/friend there and our chats over breakfast. I miss the architecture, La Seine, the sight of the rooftops from Montmartre, and the frothiest cappuccino I've ever seen. I'd seen countless photos, read about some great places to go, and watched Spiral, but what really matters is what's experienced directly, not what's experienced vicariously.
So if you meet for a 'Facebook Party', don't kid yourself that you're being social. You aren't. You're being anti-social, or to put it more simply: rude. If you go out, are you going out to meet people, or to watch them play with their electronic security blankets?
How do you feel we're adapting to social media? Do you and your friends know when to put your phones away and talk like normal human beings? You can tell me about it in the comments.