Food for Thought
The (Not-So) Social Network
By Erin Gardner
I am Erin Gardner, ‘The Seton Connection’s’ online editor, bringing to Seton, ‘Food for Thought’, a bi-monthly philosophical column. My hope for this column is to introduce thought-provoking issues and to stimulate conversation. Welcome and relax!
In the midst of Twitter DMs and Facebook messages, society knows itself by its profile picture rather than a voice, recognizes milestone moments by the filtered image or beep reminder, and feels the need to record their lives to share.
This week’s topic: The (Not-So) Social Network. Social networking is seen as a platform that advertises the best self to promote the product, the person, or the event. Examples include, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, Tinder, GroupMe, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Skype. Case in point, follow the paper on Twitter @SetonPub15-16.
The purpose of social networking is to inform the general public of important life events and updates. Major examples include Facebook and Twitter. The problem is people are being cultured and nurtured by the LED screen to the point that human connection, face-to-face communication, is almost completely lost. Home phones are nonexistent, data bills are through the roof, and stories shared by parents who once called their dates on a Friday on a rotary phone are laughable. Today’s teens are scared of calling a boyfriend or girlfriend. ‘Texting thumb’ is now a medical term, and the three dots are a constant aggravation.
The effects of human connection depend on accessibility. People wonder why they should talk on the phone when an instant answer can be achieved. The answer is simple: Human connection is the essence of the entire future. College applications depend on representing yourself through skillful writing. Interviews, or just general socializations are the epitome of human connection. Speaking well, engaging, making eye contact, listening, and understanding the individual all contribute to forming sentences. The bottom line: blogging or retweeting on Twitter won’t amount to a job.
The deep invested effects of social media are more than the follower count. Stories of ‘instafamous’ individuals have changed the cultural views of beauty. The ‘brow game’ and ‘on fleek’ are casual phrases that are used to define beauty. The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge has caused thousands physical and emotional pain because of the new mentality that ‘if I do something that is supposed to make me pretty, but makes me bleed and bruise, then it’s all in good time. Additionally, Facebook depression is real and exists. Filtered images of redefined beauty has driven teenagers and young adults to question themselves and their image of beauty. We as a society have force-fed programmed idealistic popularity onto the next generation. The society that will not, but more importantly, cannot, express their feelings, because they don’t know how, are being bombarded with ‘the next best thing’ while sorting through the motions. Telling these individuals that a size two doesn’t cut it doesn’t stop the tears from flowing.
The purpose of social networking was to improve and enhance human connection through accessibility. Instead, social networking rids us of human connection completely. It is imperative that we realize the deep rooted effects of instant gratification and overdrawn lips. The value of self-worth shouldn’t depend on the number of likes on a posed, filtered, and photoshopped image. The value is internal and that should best liked, overshared, and retweeted.