The Downside of Social Connection

Two writers of my acquaintance have written stories in the last couple of weeks about the downside of social media, one about losing balance in their life, and the other about the potential for depression.

As someone who has been accused of being too social-network-centric, and of occasionally (my word, not theirs) ignoring the real people I’m with in favour of checking my email/Facebook/Twitter, etc., this is an issue that is getting my attention more and more. That and the fact that the social media giants keep exchanging my for their profit.

As much as I adore my social network, and the fun of social bookmarking and viral videos, I have a dream where I live with my loved ones beyond the reach of Internet and data coverage…

In that world, I get lots of sleep. The black bags under my eyes go away. I have time to do serious cooking. I have time to read. I have a front porch with a swing on it, and the time to spend evenings sitting on it watching the sun go down with the people I love.

The phone hardly rings, and I’m not caught up in what’s new or what the latest meme or phrase is. Fads become irrelevant, and life is more about being healthy in all aspects: physically, emotionally, mentally, environmentally.

I realize that my vision is idealistic, but there is something in it, isn’t there? A by-product of a heavily-technologized modern life is getting caught up in a rhythm of life that tends to be frenetic and unbalanced. We focus on a to-do list that prioritizes rational tasks over mental or spiritual health. Technology compounds our stress by allowing us to always be “on the clock,” multi-task, and do things last-minute.

I will not give up the dream.

As it is now, I think I may have to take up meditation to help myself re-learn how to focus on what’s important.

Here are the articles that inspired me (the third has some compelling graphics that relate very well):

Black Transparency, “Balance is Key,” by Jennifer Black

The Western Gazette, “Facebook may lead to depression,” by Julian Uzielli

Gizbot.com, “Effects of social media on the human brain”

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6 thoughts on “The Downside of Social Connection

  1. I share your dream… and this is part of why I chose to stay away from social media for so long – I like that it connects me with family and friends far away but if I’m honest – it does not really change the relationships I have with most of those people. I still would love to have someone pick up the phone and call me… as I make a point to do for a few… every year on their birthday… and I have yet to hear back from them… perhaps they are not really friends, just the ghosts of friends past – I do not know but in this age of social media, e-mail and texting I have become almost afraid to pick up a phone and call others… because we no longer talk we only drop a few words here and there by some written format if we are lucky. And we are even luckier if we don’t inadvertently offend them because so much is lost by using written communication… 93% of communication is non-verbal – the words are only 7% of what we convey. How do I adequately share my feelings, the true feelings behind my message in only a few short words? Emoticons and lol just don’t cut it for me. This is a difficult subject for me but I do try and will continue to try and keep my focus on what’s important to me: connecting in person with my kids, my family and my friends. Thanks for giving me a space to vent just a little.

    • Thank YOU for your thoughts!

      I think I’m processing in the opposite order, Pam. First I fell in love with social media and dived in, and now I’m realizing what I have lost or am losing.

      That’s one of the major lessons my university program has taught me: ask what you are LOSING (rather than gaining) with each technological development.

  2. great article ~ read a few of the links too, it must be the new buzz as I’ve read other blogs all saying the type of thing – I gave up facebook for february and it’s been awesome – I don’t miss all the updates but it was a good way to connect to family that is farther away…….

  3. Pingback: Introducing Wordless Wednesday « A Transparent Life

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