BY SEAN MALINOWSKI
I want to live in the days where you had to look someone up in the telephone book. When you had to put an effort into pursuing a relationship with someone, whether a friendship or more than that.
Nowadays you can flex your social muscles over social media platforms. There are, of course, benefits of social media that make our lives as social mammals more efficient. But these platforms are also artificial, and are practically a simulation of face-to-face communication. Call me pessimistic, but culturally speaking, we aren’t headed in the right direction.
To rely on social media heavily today is just unhealthy. This social revolution is at a point where it’s not bringing us together, but tearing us apart. The egotistic upkeep of some social media accounts can be just nauseating. Obsessive social media users are more concerned with the message that they are trying to present than discovering what other people are up too.
It’s simple to exhibit confidence from behind a cellphone. Everyone takes advantage of it, including me. We revise and edit messages and photos to confirm we are coming across just smart enough, just funny enough, or just persuasive enough. Whatever message you want to present, whatever persona you want to promote, the Internet is your oyster.
The phone app Tinder shows just how far we have gone. The app simply posts an individual in your area, and you assess if he or she meets your standards of appearance by reviewing photos. If you decide to swipe the photo left, you are saying you’re not interested in this person. If you swipe to the right, you are saying you find that individual attractive. If the two same people “swipe right” on each other’s photos, they are considered a match, and will be given the chance to privately message each other. That’s right, a relationship built strictly off of looks. Good luck on the first date, I hope he or she isn’t a murderer.
Isn’t the most attractive part of an individual on the inside? A little far-fetched, but isn’t that what was advocated on every cartoon show and family sitcom? We promote these norms in our culture, but falter to the efficiency of privately swiping people from the comfort of our bedroom.
Naturally we compare ourselves to others. But on social media it’s a whole other level. We compare the number of likes, views, friends, and followers. We know where our friends have gone and where they are going. Through this comparison we are competitive, making sure our message stands out above all others. This obsession brings a great amount of added stress to people’s lives.
So don’t be afraid to get old-fashioned, and have the mindset to enjoy the long time tradition of face-to-face communication. Be the social revival. Don’t resort to using apps and gadgets. Spend that time developing your own real-life individuality. Instead of striving for some illusion online, be yourself in person. We are a social species, don’t let us become endangered.