One of the biggest complaints made about social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even dating apps like Tinder is that they take the human element out of social interactions. Indeed, the concept of actually going out into the real world and making friends after entering a semester not knowing at least a few people who are likely to be taking your classes is pretty unlikely, given the ease of which we can now find such social information online.
Not just a village, but a global village
Facebook has come under heavy scrutiny since the start of 2018, and the app that was initially designed to connect college kids has become hugely popular globally, with some critical commentators referring to it as a ‘state’ with the power and worldwide influence comparable to the likes of the USA and Russia. This can be confirmed by the fact that the company boasts that it has over 1 billion active users.
Despite what some critics of the modern age might suggest, people aren’t now sitting in darkened rooms refusing to interact with one another online, but are instead using social media platforms to expand the ways they keep in touch with friends and those they share a common interest with. In this respect, the question is no longer about whether social media is making us less sociable, but about how it is helping to make people more sociable in the real world around us.
Arguably the biggest reason historically for people to complain about social media destroying real-life interactions came in the form of it not encouraging individuals to know their neighbors and those close to them. More recently, though, those around the world affected in similar ways were able to share their stories courtesy of the #MeToo movement. Examples like this enable people to connect to the internet in ways that have a genuine emotional level to them.
Love, love me do
Movements such as these may have helped people to find a way to navigate through traumatic experiences, but the use of social media has brought people together in ways that might not have happened otherwise. Tinder, for instance, has helped people to connect and form relationships both online and, if desired, in person and this idea of connecting people not just as friends but bringing them together in a relationship has helped to encourage Facebook to also add dating features to its platform.
Of course, despite this, there can be no doubt that meeting people in person is not an option that is being discounted when looking for love (or friendship), even by millennials! If you need evidence of this, some of these incredible lottery love stories show it’s still possible to meet in person. One couple had been engaged to be married for 30 years (yes, 30 years) before they were able to finally get hitched thanks to a windfall.
The story of the couple who were engaged for 30 years shows that we are not shunning real-life interaction, but people aren’t afraid to use social media to help to further their social circle. Indeed, with virtual reality apps and enhanced social media platforms likely to be the norm in the not too distant future, there is no reason why we won’t continue to see a blend of the two approaches. Add to this the fact that we can now easily connect with people around the world using live streaming apps that enhance social media, and you can see that while we may no longer know everyone in our village, we have the chance to head to New York, Paris or London for a weekend to meet a friend met online thanks entirely to one thing: social media.