As I prepare for college, there’s a (somewhat long) list of things I need to get done. One of those things I have to do for orientation this fall is a “first class” assignment. It’s something that first-years have to do, as a sort of preparation for college classes.
My first class assignment is about digital anxiety and social media usage. Since I have to write an essay for this first class, I thought I’d also share my thoughts on the subject here.
I have an interesting relationship with social media. It’s not something I’m terribly interested in, but it is something I have to live with. Social media is widespread and unavoidable, it seems, in this day and age. It took me a while to even get a Facebook account – I didn’t create one until high school. (Likewise for my other social media accounts – not until high school. I preferred my books and writing for entertainment, and still do.)
To me, it seems that social media has taken something away from our lives. I had a few teachers in high school encourage us to talk to our peers around us, not stare at our phones; as someone who didn’t have social media to look at for years, I was able to observe how absorbed the rest of my peers were in their phones. And it made me sad.
It seems to me that we’ve lost some of the ability to communicate with each other. I know I’d much rather talk to someone in person than call them on my phone; texting is better than calling, but it doesn’t replace the type of connection you can only get face-to-face.
I’m not saying that social media is bad. It’s wonderful to be able to stay in touch using social media. It is a good way to keep others informed. I merely think that if we stopped spending so much time on our phones, the connections we make with others would be deeper and more meaningful, and we as people would be more authentic.
Oh, did I forget to discuss authenticity?
It’s something that had never really occurred to me to even think about until one of my friends told me that I was “the most authentic person” they knew. And that, to me, has to be linked to social media. Because the main difference between me and everyone else at the time was the number of social media accounts owned.
I think it’s sad that calling someone authentic has become such a compliment. When did we start wearing so many masks?