There’s no doubt we all love to be social. We love to share our thoughts and ideas and growing up in the digital generation, it’s easy for us to hop online and look up or share anything at all. Of course growing up in the social generation doesn’t mean that the social networks we all love so dearly are actually good for us. I’ve read through some compelling arguments lately about why our online social lives might be a bad thing.
A Lack of Privacy
Once upon a time people cared a lot about privacy. You didn’t want people to know your business, but today we’re putting our business online all of the time. Going to the store? Tweet about it! Heading out of town on a trip? Why not let the world know exactly where you are by “checking in?” Let’s look at an example of why this might be a problem:
You: I’m heading to Hawaii RIGHT NOW! It’s going to be so fun!
Friend: I’m soooooo jealous! I wish I could go surfing for three weeks!
Friend of Friend: (Thinking) Hmmmm….she’s gone for three weeks? Nobody’s home? I wonder if there’s anything there worth checking out…
While you’re off surfing in Hawaii (or shopping at the mall) anyone who’s been watching your actions as a friend or through one of your friend’s profiles knows exactly where you are and where you aren’t. How well do you know your friends? And how well do you know their friends?
A Lack of Depth and Friendship
A generation ago, friends stayed on the phone for hours. They talked and talked and talked about boys, classes, life plans, college choices, new jeans and everything under the sun. They did this for hours. Now, we spend hours online sending instant messages, posting on walls and sending tweets or texts. Since most of those are limited to just a few lines, and we rarely use more than a few words, the truth is we aren’t really saying anything at all.
You: I’m so tired!
Friend 1: Go to bed!
Friend 2: Ur so lame. Quit staying up so late.
The fact that you have hundreds of “friends” who are all privy to your conversations means that you’re either sharing too much with too many people or you’re not sharing enough with the people who matter most.
Can you have a meaningful conversation online? Absolutely. Do you make it a point to do so? Not always, unfortunately.
Bad Choices Live On… And On… And On
Gossip has always been around. Humans have always been interested in what other people are doing, and we really like the messy stuff. However, before the social networks, gossip was spoken. And when something better came along, we quit talking about old news and started talking about the new stuff. This is still partially true today. The difference is, twenty years ago, the spoken words were gone and all but forgotten after they were said. Today, you have the gossip saved in hundreds of computers –pictures and all. It’s enough to make anyone paranoid.