- Andy Salkeld
Being more and less social…
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
I fully appreciate the irony of sharing this article on social media…
Do you remember the days before Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Do you remember what came before that? Myspace? MSN Messenger? Do you remember a time when an ‘argument’ over some trivial fact wasn’t able to be answered by just asking Google on your phone?
It was a different world…
‘Connectivity’ through social media and mobile phones in general has provided many great benefits to society, but it has also caused many problems that are coming to light slowly over the course of time.
Starting late with tardiness…
I was always raised (and then taught) that…
If you’re on time, you’re late.
Back when I was growing up, we didn’t have mobile phones. As such, you made your plans in advance and then stuck to them, otherwise you would be inconveniencing the people you’re meeting up with etc.
Nowadays however, we can inform people when delays occur. We no longer need to apologise profusely if we’re stuck in traffic, or our train is stopped and we won’t make our connection.
On the other hand, there is (at least in my opinion) becoming less respect for people’s time.
If you’re going to be late…so what? just drop them a text…
Meeting overrunning…doesn’t matter. Just send them a message on Slack…
So we end up in a situation nowadays, where we make plans, put events and meetings in calendars, but almost fully expect people to be late for them.
How many of you send a message ahead of a meeting to make sure that it’s still going ahead?
We have entered a time where we simply don’t trust that things will go according to plan.
We feel nervousness and unease about the uncertainty of our plans…
This is the very definition of anxiety.
We are now an anxious society and this is simply because we can better communicate that we are running late, or that something has gone wrong.
This double edged Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads is both helping and hindering our society!
Closer than ever yet able to push you further away than before…
We are an inherently more connected society now. Social media, messenger programs, text messages, mobile phones and more allow us to be in touch with whoever we want, whenever we want.
I’ve talk about the downsides of this at work in my ‘Just a Guy‘ presentation where you are unable to switch off. However, this is also impacting on our physical social interaction.
How many of your friends do you actively speak to face-to-face now?
How many of your friends do you phone up to see how they’re doing?
How many of your friends do you text message on a regular basis?
How many of your friends do you just follow on social media and see that they’re doing okay and then occasionally throw them a ‘like’ here or there to show some remote level of interest?
Our circles of friendship are shrinking. In my opinion, we as a society are spending less and less time on actual social interaction and more and more time on social media interaction…
We are better connected that ever before yet social media and the connectivity of our world allows us to shut people out even easier.
“Sorry, didn’t see your message.”
“Your e-mail went into junk mail for some reason.”
“I haven’t checked my phone in ages.”
“Sorry, no signal.”
We even shorten how we communicate with people due to the limits imposed on us by the technology we use to keep in touch.
kthxbye… Okay. Thank you. Goodbye!
omg… Oh my god!
…how many of you have started saying lol in conversation…
…it’s more than will care to admit it that’s for sure!
Life is always greener…Other people’s lives are always always greener…
Social media is a duplicitous place…
You know you’re onto an important topic where there are literally hundreds of graphics about how people lie on social media…
As this has been covered by many people in many places I’ll boil it down as simply as possible to speed things up.
Social media is a lens.
Most people only post positive things on social media.
When your contacts (how many of those 1,000s of followers are genuine friends?) see this they compare their life, happiness and positivity to yours.
Since the majority of people only post positive things (regardless of the actual position), we then apply the same lens to what we’re doing, showing a positive ‘spin’ on our lives.
This would be great if people we’re positive, happy and smiley all the time.
Sadly we’re humans and can actually be sad…
When someone who is not feeling positive (whether struggling from depression, anxiety, or just having a bad day!) sees all this positivity in every single person they know and are connected to (because this is what Facebook has become) they begin to feel isolated.
Why is everyone else having a good time yet my life is shit?
Why are they being so successful whilst I’m stuck in this mundane life?
How can they afford that? We earn the same? Do we? Are they better than me?
Why can’t I do everything they’re doing?
Maybe something is wrong with me?
Maybe I’m the problem.
It’s probably me.
These people then try to positively post on social media to match their connections (friends…?) and then their friends who might be having a bad day start feeling exactly the same…
And then you realise that everyone feels worse because no one is truly honest.
Stop using snapchat filters and tonal overlays to make your pictures better.
Stop airbrushing wrinkles and hunting for the best angle.
You are beautiful for who you are whether you are happy or sad. Be proud in yourself that you can express all emotions and are comfortable in being yourself whether fat, thin, trendy, nerdy, geeky, straight, gay, bi…whatever. BE YOU!
Pick up the phone, break the trends, go see your friends and ask them how they’re really doing.
I know lots of people my age (and of all ages) who are just disengaging entirely from social media as it was causing too many problems for their mental health. They are so much happier now because of it.
How has understanding this changed me?…
A wise friend said to me:
“Perspective continues to evolve.”
It really does.
The more you begin to notice these things and what is happening around you the more you begin to become to resilient to it and the less it bothers you.
Secondly, I know how I want to engage with people. I much prefer face-to-face, heart-to-heart communication and interaction with everyone. Online conversations are great, but actually doing something with someone (or someones) is another level.
I was out the other week seeking some of my favourite bands live with one of my closest friends and we had people come up to us and say that the two of us were #couplesgoals all over. “We’re not a couple, but thank you.” we both replied and the response they gave us to that really meant something. They said:
“That’s even better. You two represent everything everyone wants a relationship to be and you have that as just friends. It’s incredible.”
Drunk people are the best!
Take the time to talk to strangers, meet new people, experience new things, but do it face-to-face. It might be out of your comfort zone, but taking that first step is huge and then every step thereafter becomes that little bit easier.
And with all that said…
It wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t have some little bit of excitement to share at the end. Through socialising with another friend at another concert, I was invited to be on BBC Look North. I am on TV! Seriously! WTAF? (what the actual fuck?…)
I was asked to be on as a ‘gamer and twitch streamer’ to give my opinions on loot boxes in games and my interactions with them. They have promoted my stream, showing clips of our Fetid Devourer kill, and have also allowed me to talk about what I do here at miz7.com and the work I am doing in regards to mental health. Any press to help break the stigma around mental health is appreciated.