I was sat in the pub the other day, and looked over to the table next to me. There was a group of about 5 people (in there early 20’s I’d say) all sat down staring straight at their phones. Texting, Facebooking, Tweeting and all the other social media related things we do on our phones/IPads/laptops etc. Which begs the question, are we using it to be sociable? Or is it just making us more unsociable?
I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite here because I will hold my hands up and admit to you now that I too, get my phone out, lay it down on the table in front of me, write a status in public, or text a friend whilst I’m spending time with other people. And I think the occasional text, tweet, snapchat or status is fine when you’re with people, but not to the extent where you can no longer converse with the people you’re sat next to. I mean, if you are going for a catch up with a friend or group of friends, and sit down in silence talking to other people through the means of technology, why did you show up? Either you don’t like these people, so can’t carry out a conversation, or you have quite literally forgotten how to talk in real life without using your thumbs. Also, though this may sound slightly old fashioned but, I find it quite rude – you meet up with somebody and they spend more time looking at a screen than you, well thanks!
Adversely, social media sites and the ability to text people is a much more convenient, cheap and easy way to communicate with people. The whole world has been put in a position where you can be sat in Australia, and talk to somebody in Britain pretty efficiently! There is no denying that these sites and apps are a great way to keep in touch with people and even meet old friends, or new friends. I know that before I started University I used sites like Facebook to start getting in touch with the people who I would be living or studying with, and found them pretty easily. Which, was helpful – allowed you to start to get to know the people and hopefully get rid of some of the initial awkwardness you might feel! Or it did for me, anyway.
I think it’s so easy to lose contact with the physical world because you can have this cyber world right at your fingertips. And with everything becoming so accessible nowadays – you can watch catch-up and live TV on your mobile phones or IPad’s and android tablets from anywhere. And they’re so easy to carry around with you. But hey, books are easy to carry around and keep you entertained! Do you really need to be Tweeting every minute? I saw an advert yesterday of children with a ‘Kindle’ sat in parks and playgrounds telling us what a great, easy way it was to read. Again, why stare at a screen?…just get the actual book! We’re actually getting children used to staring at screens for what? To pave the way for what they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives?
I can’t sit here and say these sites are totally making us unable to socialise in every day life, even now – I’m sat writing a blog for people all over the world to see. I’m not sat in my living room talking to family, or out with friends. Is it anti-social? Maybe a little bit, but not worryingly so! I do think however, that there are people becoming too dependant on social networking sites, people who lock themselves away talking to people they will never meet rather than talking to the people physically around them. And I still feel it’s rude to sit with a group of friends and do nothing but talk to people who aren’t there, defying your original purpose of going out to ‘socialise’. It’s all about getting a good balance, not shunning the people around you, and not losing touch with the people who aren’t. Though this concept goes for a lot of technologies, from phones, computers to TV’s. My TV broke last night, so we broke out the old boardgames! And you know what? It was probably better than watching a film. Not saying I’m chucking out the TV anytime soon but, maybe we could do with a little less of it.
This is just my opinion, so leave yours in the comment box below! Is social media making us unsociable?