I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Recently I have been feeling rather annoyed and bored with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Despite my annoyance, I am more dependent upon it than I have ever been. If I were to calculate how much time I spend on social media, I wouldn’t be shocked if it tallied up to consume most of the day. Whether its checking Facebook during class (judge all you want, but we all know we do it at some point), scrolling through tweets while on the el, planning out my entire life on Pinterest while taking a study break, stopping to Instagram the amazing view of that ice-covered Lake Michigan or that spectacularly delicious cupcake I just ate, reading up on the best ways to live out my twenties in procrastination of doing my homework, and then checking Facebook again in the midst of writing a paper—Social media is consuming my life and probably yours too. If you don’t believe me, watch this video:
I often catch myself saying, “I really want to delete my Facebook and Twitter…but I just can’t.” Simply speaking, it should be easy to just go into my settings and deactivate my account. (That’s another thing…even if I wanted to delete my accounts, it’s not even possible. Facebook and Twitter have it set up to where you’re account is temporarily deactivated until you decide to reactivate it. It’s like they know I’ll become a lost puppy without them.) But as simple as it appears to just breakup with social media, it’s so hard!
So what is about social media that has us all hooked? It’s not like I am truly fulfilled by mindlessly scrolling through buzzfeed articles and college-party albums on Facebook. I tell myself that Facebook is a great channel for me to stay connected with my friends back home, but honestly I don’t even look at their pages all that often…a simple text and phone call does just fine. Same goes for Twitter; although I may chuckle at a humorous tweet and occasionally find out breaking news, I want to cut my twitter off. I’ve actually deactivated my Twitter account a few times, but always reluctantly return to the world of 140 characters, especially since being active on social media is an “absolute must” for my ADPR world.
Social media is valuably important to the advertising, marketing, and public relations fields, because it’s a instant, direct way to communication and interact with their target audiences. Though I am increasingly aggravated with social media for my own personal use, I respect social media for professional uses. Companies and brands are actually using it to be social and build relationship with their target audiences, as opposed to generation y, who mostly uses it to appear social. A blurb about what you ate for breakfast, an upload of this past weekend’s party, and being “friends” with 1000+ people constitutes being social and communicating. But it’s not personal; its passive. Social media is about people, after all. So where’s the real communicating, the purposeful connections, and meaningful relationships?
As I sit here scrutinizing the faults of the social media world, I realize I am essentially judging myself, because I am apart of this world and have come up with no answers as how to solve these faults. Yes, I’ve done all these things and yes I will probably continue to post and share blurbs and photos that no-one really cares about it; however I think it’s time that we take a second look at how we are using social media.
I’ve come to grips that I am most likely not going to delete my social media accounts anytime soon, though try as I might. As Erik Qualman said, “We don’t have a choice to do social media, the question is how well we do social media.” Social media is a great and nifty platform for human connection and advancement—that is if we choose to use it in meaningful ways and actually start truly communicating. It’s already starting to change how and what we do on a daily basis—we can’t escape it—so let’s learn to master it in positive ways that will benefit human connection. Let’s get social.
New Marketing Funnel. (Producer). (2013, Jan 2). Social Media Revolution 2013 [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8pyNHz6Pr0