The internet has 3.17 billion users. Let that number sink in. Now, 2.3 billion of those users are active on social media. After reading an interesting article on 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016, I quickly got dragged into a deep wormhole of thought. Technology is evidently everywhere. Our society is one providing information we want at the open of an app. Gone are the days people discovered news from a newspaper delivery to their homes. What’s more, social media is obviously reigning supreme, and human interaction is feebly trying to hold on.
Constant Online Interactions
How many of us interact with others through social media every day? Be it replying to a tweet, getting involved in a Twitter chat, responding to comments on any platform or even Whats App’ing and text messaging, as they loosely fall under this category too. We all do it. And we do it every single day – a lot. Especially if your hobby and/or business are internet/technology based. It’s a must in order to keep active and present, which is fully understandable too, but do we know when to truly switch to sleep mode on social media and technology? Or is it a concept that’s lost to us? We make a conscious decision every day to be involved in the world of social media; can we say the same about regular human interactions?
Did you know that according to a 2015 report in The Telegraph, the average person has not one but FIVE social media accounts and can spend upwards of 1 hour and 40 minutes a day skimming through them? If you’re a Briton, it’s likely to be 1 hour and 20 minutes across FOUR social media accounts. How insane is that? These days how many of you spend 1 hour and 20 minutes a day socialising in person, (your child, pet, husband or someone in your household who you speak to everyday does not count). I mean – how many of us make an effort to actually make plans, to go out and actually connect with someone in person, and what’s more, want too? I’ll admit it, I don’t. And if you are one of those people who do (firstly I truly applaud you and your superhuman abilities) how many times do you take out your phone and scroll through during? Again, guilty!
Time for a Change
Recently, I deleted my personal Facebook account. A rash decision after sitting musing one day over how many of the people on there do I actually consider to be a friend? Not an old school friend or childhood friend who you found online, not a work colleague you make small talk with over the morning coffee break or a friend of a friend. How many are actual friends? People who make an effort to be in my daughter’s life, people who I could phone at 3 a.m. during an emergency, people who I would make plans with. Don’t get me wrong social media can be, and indeed is a wonderful platform for connecting with family members who live far away, but let’s be honest, many of us have social media skills better than actual people skills. Flicking through my newsfeed I found myself thinking, why am I on here (as a personal account)? What am I actually gaining, because time clearly isn’t one of them? Social media is clearly robbing me of my free time. I sit reading about other people’s lives day in day out, checking it like a morning newspaper, ‘liking’ all the fun things people are up too (on social media whilst on these outings too might I add) and simply feel as if I’m shutting off from my own life and my ability to make plans. Where is the logic in that? So I did it. I cut it out and made a commitment to actually socialise more. Be it a lunch date, a phone call, a quick trip to the local park with fellow mummy friends – I made a change.
Are We Missing Out on Life?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying social media is something we need to shut out of our lives, because it’s been very beneficial to me and it is indeed very important to many people in terms of connecting to loved ones. I just mean do we really need to stare at our screens as much as we do? Do we really need to check our notifications first thing in a morning and last at night? Are we missing out on actual life? Through apps we can’t see our friends/family laugh, react and respond to us, we don’t get to react and feel in response to this – we are bypassing interacting and feeling on a human level. Some days, my hub-to-be sits scrolling through his news feed, reading pretty generic and repetitive updates, missing out on our daughter singing and dancing to Frozen’s “Let It Go” (maybe this is why he was scrolling through…hmm). Something that seems so small and insignificant, but when our children grow, it’s moments like that we are wish to relive.
Seize the Day
So I say: make plans. Live in the moment that little bit more. Arrange a family day out without any social media, commit to a date night without looking at your phone (and if you do, you are dumped with the bill), connect with your friend over lunch rather than Whats App. Even make the effort to send a phone call rather than send a text. Commit to making more of a human interaction, to feeling. Set an example to our younger generation that you don’t need to socialise through a phone or computer. That it’s good for the soul to be able to take a break and what’s more, know when a break is needed to bring the balance back to your life.
Time is gone in the blink of an eye. Don’t let social media/apps/technology steal more than it needs to.