Social media is a tool that connects the world.
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Social media is a tool that connects the world. It makes the world the smallest it’s ever been. We can reach across the globe with a click of a mouse and impact someone in a country to which we’ve never been. During COVID lockdowns, when our lives seemed to be otherwise spinning out of control, I met with people from around the world: talked marketing in New Zealand, opportunities with companies in Canada, and used broken French, talking tourism in Paris. It’s a remarkable feat of ingenuity, but I wonder if we don’t often use social media as a friend, when we feel we don’t have one, and I wonder if we don’t use it as an excuse in other times. In other words, we spill too much. It’s easy to do. On social media, there’s always someone with an ear, good and bad. It’s a cyberworld that’s become a bit too relaxed, being an easy place to vent and too free and comfortable to offer critique. We’ve let our guard down and social media – the great world wide web – has become our outlet.
As modernity dictates, it’s hard to deny that we live our lives online, and we’ve created a world where, in real time, we don’t even look one another in the eye. Life, now, is instantaneous and for seemingly an entire generation, personal value and the value of others is marked by how many followers one possesses. In time, we’ll live to regret it, both as a culture and individually. Admittedly, even I cringe when I see posts that my younger self shared to the world. No one, ultimately, needs to know what or where I’ve eaten, what I wore, and if, in fact, it matched. Argyle socks with Nantucket reds need not have been posted, and, ultimately, what did it do for me?
Recently, something jumped out to stand as a testament to (and a condemnation of) our society. Tik Tok “influencer” Larz – who boasts 400,000 followers – announced to the world that he no longer speaks to his family because they’re not famous enough, and, according to the man famous for licking toilet seats during a pandemic, won’t until they’ve increased their wealth and/or social media standings.
“They’re irrelevant. None of them has followers,” the influencer told Dr. Phil. “If they got followers or got rich, I’d probably talk to them again.”
And there we sit. Social media has many benefits. Arguably, it kept the world afloat during COVID lockdowns. While many of us were working online and meeting on Zoom, a significant portion of our population were bragging about licking toilets. That off-center influencers have endorsements from companies who ignore the brash reality of their patronages, says much. We need only look around; society is off its axis. The nasty truth is, we’re being influenced by an illusory world, and our children are being taught values that negatively re-emphasize individual worth. It’s good to be popular. We all want to be liked. We all don’t, however, lick toilet seats for “likes” or disown our family for a few seconds of “Facebook famous” endorphins, with or without the infamously mismatched Nantucket reds and argyle socks.