What is Social Media doing to us?

I’m going to express my opinion.  I’m probably going to offend someone, but that’s the day and age we live in right now.  I’ll apologize in advance if you become offended as it’s not my intent to make you feel that way.  So here goes.  I have a huge problem with how people behave on social media.  I first signed up for Facebook in the summer of 2008.  I was 27 years old and we had our one child, Jack, who would have been shy of 2 years old at the time.  It was our first summer in our new home.  We had just had a ‘housewarming’ party and a couple of my friends from high school had come into town for a weekend of shenanigans.  (Side note…lots of things happened that weekend, while walking through downtown Minneapolis…somebody stepped on the back of Kelsey’s sandal and it broke.  She had to wear my friend’s shoes the rest of the night. They were way to big and did not go with her outfit!  We also encountered a herd of llamas in the Mackenthun’s grocery store parking lot).  My friend Rob, who was the computer nerd of the group, had just created an app for the iPhone that was designed to sync your Facebook friends with your iPhone contacts.  I think most of what the app did is now standard on the iPhone, but at the time it was ‘revolutionary’.  He charged $0.99 for the app and at its peak I think he was getting a couple hundred downloads per day.  Not bad for something he created on the side over a weekend.  Anyway, my friends introduced me to Facebook that weekend so I signed up, and so did my wife.  We looked at it as a way to share photos of our kids with family and friends, as well as a way to reconnect and stay in touch with people we knew from our younger years.  For a while, that’s what I used it for.  I shared photos of Jack, and then when Davis was born, we shared photos of the both of them.  My activity over the years has ebbed and flowed based on the season of life I’m in.  I try to avoid political debates, but sometimes that can be a challenge!

 

Somewhere in between then and now Facebook has changed.  It has turned into a source of anxiety and depression for so many people.  I read somewhere when people get a “like”, it releases dopamine in your brain similar to what happens when people use cocaine.  Obviously then, people get addicted to Facebook and its interactions with the outside world.  We do things to create more activity with our posts so that we can get that “rush” all over again.  What happened to Facebook being an outlet to reconnect with friends and communicate with those that we care about?

 

In this technological age, we live in a ultra-connected world.  With Skype and Facetime, it’s easy to talk to and see someone on the other side of the Earth.  It’s so easy to be connected that we actually become more disconnected.  We prefer emails and texts over phone calls.  I’m pretty sure talking on the phone is a source of anxiety for anyone under the age of 25.  In my business I know there are advisors who work with clients all over the country and ‘meet’ with them over video conferencing.  That’s ok, I guess, but I prefer human relationships experienced over a cup of coffee, a Chipotle burrito, or at the kitchen table.

 

Yes, I also understand the irony in this.  Many of you are reading this blog, which is complaining about Facebook, through the link I posted on my Facebook page.  I also know I have been just as guilty as the next person with some of these things.  Facebook doesn’t have to be bad, it can and has done quite a bit of good. We just don’t have to share everything.  Maybe keep part of your life a mystery.  We don’t have to announce to the world how good of people we are, or how amazing our spouse is, or how talented our children are. Be humble and gracious and try to make this world a better place one action at a time.

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