The complexities of the era in which we live with the invention of social media are still being worked out. This all is so brand new that we are not sure about the way it is affecting us physically and psychologically. Social Networks, especially Facebook, are changing the way we develop social relationships in the real world… and we do not even notice it.
I really like MTV’s “Catfish” show. It is about people who meet other people and fall in love online. They start a virtual relationship that can lasts for years. However, for one reason or another, this relationship stays online. The program follows the structure of a docu-reality. The show was triggered by the personal experience of the host, Nev Schulman, who suffered a huge love disappointment due to an online affair. He filmed the whole process and made a documentary film out of it. Nev listens to the stories of these young people, he empathizes with them and offers help finding out the truth behind the story. The experience usually ends up leaving a bittersweet taste for those involved in it. Well, maybe the taste is more bitter than sweet.
For me, the best thing about “Catfish” is that it highlights how naïve we are. We transfer our responses and reactions in the real world to the online one. We trust people we talk to on a daily basis, even if we have not met personally. And the worst thing is that the person on the other side might be lying.
Social networking keeps us company when we are alone and offers entertainment when we are bored. But it is a fact that it can make us feel depressed too. We can read on Mashable an article which points out that reading about other people´s travelling, weddings, children, jobs, love, overcoming divorces, or how they party, makes you focus on your own reality and you end up comparing. The result is that you feel in low spirits.
The other side of the coin is those who use Facebook as their own personal wailing wall, sharing with the world all their woes. Others are those who overflow your timeline supporting a cause, no matter how legitimate. And last but not least, those who contact you only when they need it. They all make you feel irritated, blue and annoyed.
However, the big question is this: How many of your 300 Facebook Friends living in your city meet up with you in the real life? How often? Can you call some of them just to go out for a coffee? Do you feel upset when no one likes your latest post? There is an excellent article called “The Loneliness Of Facebook”. The writer illustrates the many reasons to delete one of his Facebook accounts and give the other a rest. The idea being out of sight, out of mind.
This seems to be a trend at the moment. You can find studies that allude to Social Networking Addiction which call for a return to simplicity. No social networking, no internet, no smart phones. We can read on an article in El País about internet-free hipster parties or long time ‘unppluged’ experiments. The modern/anti-modern essence.
Do you remember how life was before Facebook?
Up to this point, it might be a benefit not being a digital native, or a millennial, not even an unambitious hipster. No matter how much we use social networking; overlook those never-ending chats that have helped us, gave us company and made us laugh. All that is irrelevant. Notice that we, the analogical natives, can still appreciate looking into a friend’s eye for what it’s worth.
Puedes leer la versión en español de este post en HolaBanana.