What Does Social Media Mean To You?

Recently, I’ve been struggling with the whole Facebook world & social media takeover, as I have (so fondly) deemed it.

First there was MySpace and I have to say I really LOVED MySpace. More so than Facebook. As you all know, I am obsessed with music. So it worked for me. Plus, I didn’t friend anyone I didn’t know, which left out all the craziness. It was fun, I found a lot of old friends, and it started my addiction to social media.

Then, there was Facebook. At first, I was so turned off by it because you had to be a college student with a college email address. Being out of college for quite some time it made me feel like they were telling me I wasn’t good enough to join (only the kids were allowed). So, I didn’t and remained against Facebook for a number of years. Eventually, everyone was migrating to it and not listening to my reasoning for boycotting them anymore. Hardly anyone was using MySpace and I kept getting more and more invites for Facebook, so many that when I finally caved, and joined Facebook, I had 80+ friends in less than an hour!

I was blown away.

At that point it was so much fun because they really did do a better job at helping you find people you know now and from your past. For a 30-something that was addicted to letter writing and keeping in touch with EVERYONE she could, it was like hitting the jackpot!

Instantly, I was addicted and I didn’t care. But I didn’t forsake MySpace right away, either. I posted everything to both sites, even a little more to MS, until it proved to be too much and I wasn’t getting any feedback from anyone — ever. I was disappointed, but found it’s the way things were going, so I fully migrated with my tail between my legs.

Now it’s been another several years and I am disliking the movement of the machine, called Facebook. Not that I am any less addicted to checking it, just annoyed most of the times I log on. Instead of being a place to share my life with my friends it’s turned into a breeding ground for business’ to advertise to me and a site I feel like I have to constantly monitor and keep up with from a privacy perspective. Along with the sense that everyone thinks they actually keep up with friends on there and are always saying “Facebook Me.”

When did regular email become so intense that you feel it’s so annoying you would rather me “Facebook” you? First, we lost the art of letter writing to email. Now, we are losing emailing to “Facebooking?” And don’t even ask me how texting fits into all this because that’s a whole other mess with the younger generation and people my age that just can’t stand to answer the phone for ANY reason at all.

Now let’s move onto the businesses that are messing with my social media. Some of them don’t even bother with regular sites anymore, just a Facebook page. I had a friend that has deleted his account because of this fact. We also have all the companies that can’t wait for you to ‘Like’ them on Facebook, just so they can spam your newsfeed. Don’t we already get enough email spam? Now we need to ‘like’ you on FB to get bombarded with the same crap that you are going to send to my inbox. Just in the hopes that we might win some contest, get a possible discount, or miss out on a big announcement. Oh, and let’s not forget the ones that you have to use your Facebook log in to even start an account with them. Those really were the beginning of my anger. Why do you think you deserve to get stats on me via Facebook just to use your service or pay you for a good/service?

Can you tell I am frustrated?

So now it seems people are too busy for a phone call, too annoyed by emails, and feel they actually know what’s going on in my life when Facebook decides a post of mine is worthy for their newsfeed. How did we get here? And how did it become a state that everyone defends? There are even people out there that are so into this new way of life that they argue for you to stop using it if you don’t like it. Really? Stop your complaining if you don’t like it, it’s progression and the way of the world. Is it?

Why is it bad to like the simple things?

I know there is a lot to be said for the way things have changed. There is even some value to the ingenuity of a lot of these social media moguls, but why do we have to sacrifice personal interaction and personal relationships to get progression? And why do so many of us feel this is a better way of life?


13 thoughts on “What Does Social Media Mean To You?”

  1. I’m with you and Brenda! When I first saw Facebook I disliked how cluttered it was. I only wanted to see what I wanted to see, not this whole running list of what everyone else was posting.

    I am also easier addicted to checking my social media outlets … darned smart phone is feeding that addiction … but I am finding I’m completely unsatisfied by it.

    I miss letter writing!

    1. Tammy, that is how I feel — addicted, but unsatisfied. I really miss letter writing, too. I’ve noticed that even when you get an actual card a lot of people don’t even write a message in it anymore, just sign it. The time and effort exerted is seeping everywhere.

  2. We have moved from a people centered society to a stuff centered society – we only want to know what people have, not who people are.

    I liked FB at first because I could keep track of so many people in such a short period of time. But that was when people commented instead of liked and wrote on your wall. You would get a message and that meant the information was super personal so they didn’t want anyone else to know… now you message because you just don’t want it broadcasted (not that anyone seems to read the broadcast).

    I feel like we can’t give it up because we won’t be in contact with *anyone* if we do because everyone relies on FB instead of email – just like you said. Sigh. I agree with you… it stinks and is tough but hard to let it go because there are so many you would never talk to if you did. How *did* we get here? 😉

    1. You are so right, it’s sad. Even when I see so many people discussing the downfall of how society is it doesn’t seem to do much. Which I can understand, when you do put the effort out there, it’s never reciprocated. Not that it needs to be every time you do something thoughtful, but it’s hard to keep that momentum if you feel it lands flat in unappreciative hands.
      And I do wish I could give up the social media, but I know there is no way. I would lose contact with so many people, even the little things that everyone talks about when you do get to see them. FB almost always comes up in some way or another.

  3. hmmm…too many negative nellies! Being thousands of miles and time zones apart from a large portion of my friends and family, i absolutely <3 all sorts of social media. Facebook, tweeting, pinning, blogging…you name it.
    Being someone who is constantly busy, between travellign for work, or to weddings all over the country, or to visit my sister, social media has made it possible to contact people and to stay involved in lives, whom I would have otherwise probably lost contact with, just due to the sheer amount of time in a day. Now, while i'm sitting at the gate in an airport, where my flight is delayed for 4 hrs, i can see what my friends/family are doing miles away. It's made staying connected easier, not harder. With the pace of the way the world is…snail mail is just too slow to stay relevent….phone calls not always possible, especially with time differences…
    just my 2 my cents.

    1. My first comment from Nikki! I’m so excited. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. And for bringing more conversation to the post. 🙂

      Now in reply…I honestly think that the differences in our opinions come down to our experiences, partly stemming from age. For me, it’s not about being negative and I don’t think that any of these other people are either, it’s reality. We miss what it was like to have deeper bonds and relationships with people. Letter writing won’t ever be irrelevant, just archaic. When I got out of high school you had to write letters or use the phone, and at that time long distant calls weren’t something my parents would approve of. So, all through college we wrote letters and I wrote a lot. I always got responses, in 3 pages, from my friends and we actually knew what the other one was going through in their lives. Letters were a thoughtful way to stay in contact and you did it because you cared. They took more time, so you invested more into them. In the case of Facebook, it’s superficial, to me. People don’t post the personal stuff or the hardships that are normally shared in friendships. Which I think is smart in the light of data collecting. However, in my opinion, it’s still not a way to truly connect with a good friend. It’s a way to think you know what is going on with them, when in reality their true life is something that you will never hear about, online.
      Even with all that, I cannot give it up. This is because there are times I think it’s fun; plus there are numerous people I would lose contact with, as you stated. This is, in part, because some only use social media to communicate. There are many people that I did lose contact with over the years, and in my post I admitted how excited I was to have this level of “getting back in touch” with them. But, there is just so much time in the day (to your point); and like many others, the allure of Facebook took a dive, eventually. And believe me, I know all about the time difference frustration, three hours is a huge hoop to jump through when you are trying to coincide schedules. I find it very difficult to catch even my closest friends and family on the phone because of it.
      All in all, I’m not trying to bag everything about social media, what I’m trying to drive at is that even with the ease of social media we give something else up. For this blog post, it’s the personal interaction that forms those close bonds with people. Everyone is busy and the more we put on our plate, the more we have to juggle. In your example of sitting at the airport during a 4 hour flight delay, I think that social media is ideal. It’s a way to pass the time and for entertainment. I just don’t think that it’s a way most people share their personal lives with those they are close to. It’s a way to post the daily or weekly fluff.

      1. I dont know if it’s really social media to blame for “lack” of connections and bonds though. I think there is more to it than that. I think it’s partly just growing up…and it’s easier to blame things such as social media, rather than admit that everyone’s lives get more complicated and busy as time goes on.
        It’s always easier to make friends, and be friends in school, college etc. There are always more people around with more in common, age, expereinces, etc….when you’re in those types of situations, thus just by odds alone, you’re more likely to make a connecton….not to mention, the amount of “free time” people have when they are younger vs “grown-up” with jobs, families, kids.

        Part of me, (and maybe this is me being a negative nellie) is that it isn’t social media to blame…it’s getting older. even without social media, i am willing to bet that making and keeping connections becomes fewer and farther in between.

        Even here at work…when I started, everyone hung out a ton! We were all single, renting, working long hours….and to me, hung out quite a bit… but now that everyone has husbands, mortgages (some), kids (and they’re endless activites), everyone’s lives are at diffrent stages…and there is less time to connect, interact, or whatever.

        1. I hear what you are saying and I agree that as we all get older priorities shift. We have less time, so then have to pick and choose who we are going to put the effort into, that seems to just be life. But I wasn’t trying to blame social media, just saying what I feel it really is/represents. It all drills down to the individual, in the end. However, I do blame social media for the lack of privacy. When I first started Facebook I posted a lot, feeling more secure in the fact that everything wouldn’t get blasted to anyone I was connected to or who my friends are connected to. Now, I know that others will see posts that I don’t want to be that public and it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I check my privacy settings, it still keeps happening.

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