BY SOFO ARCHON
Social media has enormously changed the way human beings interact with one another. In just a split of a second, any person from any place on Earth can easily communicate with multiple people from across the globe. Social media has proven to be a powerful tool that can help us feel part of a global community.
The reason why Facebook, Twitter, and similar social networking websites have attracted hundreds of millions of active global users lies in people’s desire to feel connected. At our very core, we all long to experience a sense of togetherness and belonging. The sense of being connected with others makes us feel loved, secure, happy–it helps break our attachment to our tiny little egos and identify ourselves with something bigger–a community. But can social media truly achieve that?
Well, not really, and this is the hidden danger of social media: fooling us that it can substitute the real thing we are seeking for. Although social media does help people to connect, the reality is that it does so only on a superficial level. Using social media can help us communicate in the form of text, images, or videos, which is all good and nice–but can that substitute true personal intimacy and physical bonding?
I myself spend much of my time online publishing content and responding to messages that I receive on various social media platforms. I do feel a sense of connection with the people I interact with online, and yet I know that there is something missing in that connection. What is missing is physical and spiritual contact–a deep look in another’s eye, the touch of another’s hand, the feeling of an invisible thread connecting two or more peoples’ hearts.
Looked at this way, despite its positive aspects in uniting us, social media can also become a means to separate us. However, this negative, dangerous side, lies not in social media itself but in the way we use it and our expectations from it. Social media, just like most tools in existence, can be used in favor of or against us. If we use it for the purpose of fulfilling our inner emptiness, we will not achieve much. If, on the other hand, we use it in conscious awareness of its limits in how it can serve us to connect and communicate, we will be able to utilize it for our own benefit, without feeling entrapped in or betrayed by it.
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