Semester of Social Media Final Reflection
Social media has taken over the world. It has taken over the lives of almost everyone I know, even myself. This project showed me just how addicted I really am. But, I am only addicted to social media apps that I have other people I know using them. It was very boring and made me feel very alone using the social media apps that no one else uses. It kind of felt like no one was reading or caring about anything I posted. That is why I like Facebook and Instagram. I have people I know on those apps who I feel like pay attention to me.
Many of the articles we talked about in class discussion was the isolation and loneliness that social media seems to cause to some people. I feel like I experienced these things when using new social media apps; like I said earlier. But first, the number one thing I want to talk about is how social media has literally caused addiction in my life, like most other people I know. An article by Andrew Sullivan, I used to be a Human Being, talks about some of these issues.
Sullivan says, “I was sitting in a large meditation hall in a converted novitiate in central Massachusetts when I reached into my pocket for my iPhone. A woman in the front of the room gamely held a basket in front of her, beaming beneficently, like a priest with a collection plate. I duly surrendered my little device, only to feel a sudden pang of panic on my way back to my seat. If it hadn’t been for everyone staring at me, I might have turned around immediately and asked for it back. But I didn’t.”
I think this is what I would be feeling if I had to give up my phone. I would be trying to ask for it back. When I’ve had to go to a courthouse and not bring my phone it drove me nuts.
I already had noticed about myself that I check my phone everyday, every morning, and every night before I go to bed. I’m pretty sure that most people I know, do the same thing. But since starting this project, I have been checking my phone more and simply using it more to work on this project. Andrew Sullivan states in his article, “Each morning began with a full immersion in the stream of internet consciousness and news, jumping from site to site, tweet to tweet, breaking news story to hottest take, scanning countless images and videos, catching up with multiple memes. Throughout the day, I’d cough up an insight or an argument or a joke about what had just occurred or what was happening right now.” This is very true for me. Except for tweeting. I don’t tweet really. I tried using it more for this project as asked of us. But, I couldn’t seem to get into it any more than now. I don’t really have many friends on it from my real life so it bores me and makes me feel like no one is even pay attention to me. I also get bored just reading tweets over and over. You can post photos and videos but those start to get boring after a while too when you never see any posts from people you know.
This is how I have felt with Tumblr and Flickr as well. An article called, Is Facebook making us lonely?, by Stephen Marche, talks about the feelings of loneliness and isolation that Facebook and social media in general makes us feel. “…was the final, silent shot of an anomic Zuckerberg sending out a friend request to his ex-girlfriend, then waiting and clicking and waiting and clicking—a moment of superconnected loneliness preserved in amber. We have all been in that scene: transfixed by the glare of a screen, hungering for response,” Marche says. It is very true. While using Tumblr and Flickr, I have been stuck staring at the screen, waiting for some kind of response or acknowledgement that someone has read or seen what I have posted. It gives you this feeling of loneliness and isolation when we can’t get a response from anyone on social media. I have even experienced this using Facebook or Instagram which I normally use more than any other social media app. Part of social media is making social connections. We do that on every social media program; make connections with people. These aren’t the same thing as real life connections but I think in our minds, they are the same. Marche also mentions, “Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy. The decrease in confidants—that is, in quality social connections—has been dramatic over the past 25 years.” This is very true. When I make connections online, if I see that person in real life, I don’t feel a need to get to know them in real life because I think I know them in real life already through social media. But I need to realize these aren’t the same things.
As I mentioned earlier, I experienced feelings of loneliness and isolation. I can best describe this as when I got into a argument on Facebook with a long time friend from real life (she is the sister of my fiance’s sister-in-law.) The argument was ridiculous but on Facebook it seems to be easier to fight with someone because you aren’t with them face to face. The most funny thing about this incident was when I seen her in real life later at her sister’s house, she acted as if nothing had happened. She didn’t speak to me much but when we did speak it was cordial and normal. This made me feel extremely alone and even isolated because we had a fight on Facebook and it truly showed to me how me and this girl are not really friends or even care about each other truly. If this had been with her sister, a best friend of mine, we would have talked about it in real life, not pretend it didn’t happen. We use social media as a way to talk to people but are we REALLY talking to them? Stephen Marche says, “In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are.” I believe this reigns true just from the things I have witnessed in my own life.
I think the hardest part about this project was the sense of loneliness and isolation I felt but using apps I had never used before. I had to build connections with people which I didn’t really want to do but kept trying to do by posting and sharing on Flickr and Tumblr. But I gave up, because it seemed in my head no one was listening or reading them. LinkedIn, the social media app that is used in a more professional sense, I do enjoy because I use it for finding a job and building a professional persona not for building a social media persona. If anything, I feel like doing this project increased my addiction more because all I wanted to do was use my other social media apps more because I had people I knew in real life on those ones i.e., Facebook and Instagram. But overall, this taught me much more about how we use and feel about social media.
1. Marche, Stephen. “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.
2. Sullivan, Andrew. “I Used to Be A Human Being.” Select All. New York Magazine, 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.