Social websites are incredibly popular, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what, if anything, social media is adding to your life?
Maybe it’s a great way to connect with others, but just maybe it’s a poor substitute for interacting with others in a more meaningful way. How do you use social websites?
Consider these ideas when thinking about how social media fits into your life:
1. Communication is primarily just noise. Social websites provide a large volume of communication, but how significant is that communication to your life? Is it meaningful to know that an acquaintance is going to the grocery store to get the 3 items her husband forgot to pick up? Or that she’s fixing spaghetti for dinner?
* You have the opportunity to read a lot of short messages from a large number of people, but the messages typically don’t have any depth to them. Nearly everything is very trivial.
* You get the sensation of connecting with people, but when you really examine the quality of the connection, are the messages really what you’re looking for? Only you can answer that for yourself.
2. Social websites interfere with your desire to be truly social. Everyone feels some level of desire to be social. Many people report far less interest in socializing with others in person when they’re regularly active on Social websites.
* It’s as if your brain is tricked into thinking that you’re truly socializing.
3. You’re interacting with a computer, not people. Really, all you’re doing is reading and typing relatively insignificant bits of information on your computer or cell phone.
* The next time you’re on the site, stop and ask yourself a few questions. What is actually going on? Are you alone or are you with someone else? Is this going to move your life forward in any way? Will 15 years of this activity really add anything to your life?
* They refer to it as social networking, but it’s hardly a real social experience if you’re alone with your digital device.
4. Most of those “friends” are not your friends. Do you really think you have 643 friends? Would you be interested in sitting down with each of those friends and sharing a cup of coffee?
* If you wouldn’t give them your time and attention out in the real world, why are you doing it online? You’ll be happier if you strengthen your social life with real, meaningful interaction and avoid giving your time to strangers.
* You probably don’t interact with your real friends much online because you already see them and know what’s going on with them.
Try a 30-Day Social Sites Black Out
As an experiment, eliminate social websites from your life for 30 days and see what happens. When you feel the need to interact with others, pick up the phone and actually speak to someone. Go out and spend some time with some real people. Create memories you can cherish for a lifetime!
At the end of the month, if you go back to your social websites, you may find that you use them much differently than before:
* You keep up with real friends and family in more significant ways.
* When you choose to make new friends, you interact positively with meaningful discussions.
* You take advantage of the social networking benefits without catering to the triviality that is so rampant.
Social websites have become a huge part of our social lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good thing. The human experience includes interacting with others; avoid letting a website be a barrier to meaningful interaction with your loved ones. Try going without it for 30 days and see if it doesn’t change your life!