Social Media is Making us Unsocial

Aniket Singh

October 5, 2020

A Ted Talk by Kristin Gallucci, a Marketer, specialized in LinkedIn Advertising, shared an experience of a social media conference she attended. She shared how she was trying to interact with people, influencers present there, but was continually being ignored. She also mentioned that people over there chose to connect via social media rather than personally. They were choosing social media over a relationship.

The very first recognizable social media came in 1997 and was called ‘Six Degrees.’ But the real explosion in social media took place once blogging started. And since then, after two decades, we have come a long way. According to Statista data of 2019, an average human today is spending around 144 minutes on social media daily, and this is increasing by two minutes everyday [1]. It turns out to be 5.5 years of an average person’s lifetime being spent on social media. I had my first social media account on Orkut way back in 2010. And today, I am so much involved that I had to take a harsh step; millennials call this by a fancy word, ‘Social Media Detox.’

Social media has made the world a better place for us. But it has also been killing our relationships. Those long discussions in hostel rooms, cousins laughing after seeing old photo albums, and those random conversations in trains; it seems like all this is fading away. Social Media has replaced our experiences as well. While dining out, we let our food get cold to click those perfect images and share them online. Social media today has made us dependent on how people perceive us. We are in dire need of them to like us. But what about the ones who already like us. To them, we are just giving out reasons to dislike us.

According to a study in the USA, between 2009 and 2017, the depression rate increased by 60% among kids from age 14 to 17 [3]. It was also found that for every 10% rise in negative experiences on social media, there can be seen a 13% rise in loneliness. Another survey shows that 37% of teens, between 12 to17, have been bullied online, and more than half of the LGBTQ community faces online harassment. 23% of students are involved directly or indirectly in cyberbullying activities. [2]

Henceforth, I would now like to introduce a phenomenon that exists just because of social media, ‘Slacktivism.’ Slacktivism is the practice of supporting political or social causes utilizing Social Media and is characterized by lesser efforts and commitment. Social causes are what we as humans fight for to make this world a better place. And these causes have been a driving factor in the growth of humans as a race. We are somewhere losing our driving forces behind the face of social media.

In the end, I would like to say that it is not the technology that is to be blamed for making us unsocial, but us humans. We always strive to move forward, and we will make technology to move forward as well. But we can’t be blaming everything on it, because it is us who has created technology and we need it. The human race has come so far, just because of one point of differentiation, our ability to socialize. And if we are giving that away like this, do we even deserve to be this species?

About the Author

Aniket Singh is pursuing his MBA from IIM Udaipur and has an inclination towards Marketing. He is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and hails form the sports city of India, Meerut. Coming from an Armed Forces background, he has had the opportunity to stay and experience the cultural diversity of the country. He is a rubix cube enthusiast and a fan of the series “How I Met Your Mother.” You can connect with him on LinkedIn

References