I am a 32-year-old male and it’s crazy that my generation will be the last generation to remember what the world was like before social media.
It’s also crazy how dated we sound when we reminisce about our times… “I remember when hoping in someone’s DM’s was sliding shorty a letter in class!” or “Remember when you actually had to like someone to ‘like’ someone. I can see Generation Z looking at me like “What are you talking about old man?”.
Social media has changed us, man.
It’s overcharged us and shortened our attention spans—to the point that we have become desensitized to things that would have probably blown our minds half a decade ago. Dave Chappelle talked about this in his recent Netflix standup, about how Social Media and just the internet, in general, has made information so tangible—how before we can fully process one event we are being pinged, tweeted or notified about something even crazier. Look at the recent police shootings, for instance. These types of things have always been going on but now because of social media it has become an undeniable truth. Yet in the same scope, we are way too quick to push it aside and move on to the next trending topic. All of this due to the constant flood of social and political events constantly at our fingertips.
Social Media has definitely changed us—you—me.
Look at what we are faced with—an overstimulated, over-sexualized, over-image-conscious society feeding off of likes, retweets, shares. But who can blame them, especially when you see the impact social media can have on someone’s life? No need to chase a modeling career, just take enough half-naked pics, get your likes and followers up on Instagram, add a contact email for booking in your profile and wallah you’re a working model! But don’t stop there. You can be whomever and whatever you want to be. Wanna be a baller? Take a picture holding your tax return, add a bottle of Ace for effect #done. Wanna be attractive? Add a few Snapchat filters to your profile pic, delete all tagged pics of yourself elsewhere #done. You can be whatever you want to be on social media—all from the comfort of your couch, and [I guess] that’s part of the intrigue.
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Social media has changed us.
I mean we are living in a time where the Commander and Chief of the Free World’s preferred platform for delegation and commentary is Twitter. It’s unbelievable, really. Let’s not even start on the whole hacking element that comes with social media, remember #thefappening? Good times… We have literally witnessed feuds, battles, beefs begin and end with social media #twitterfingers. How many times have you witnessed celebrities & social figures blast out controversial statements only to claim that they were “hacked”?
The bottom line is, no one is safe, not safe from cyberbullying, not safe from trolls, and not safe form stalkers. These are things that we accept because they are part of the social media picture, they come with the territory.
Social Media has changed us.
It has dramatically changed the way a business even markets and peddles its wares to the masses. The monetization of our information shared via social media is astronomical. You ever get that feeling that someone is watching you, what you do, what you say? Well, they are! However we ignore that fact when it comes to what and how much we share online. We have been trained to trust the process. We trust that our jobs are not going to look at our Facebook page, trust that our private online conversations can not and will not be used against us in the court of law #trust. Look, I’m not saying that we should invest in the most secure decryption software, firewall protection, or VPN before we leave a comment on Facebook. What I am suggesting is that we are more conscious of the fact that there will always be an element of intrusion when it comes to social media.
I don’t want to be the guy that rants about this like it’s all bad—because honestly it’s done a lot of good. I mean, it has revolutionized the way we communicate. Never have we been so connected with our friends, family and loved ones. We are able to trade ideas, share content, collaborate like never before. Some have found love, and inspiration on Social Media. It has played a powerful role in sparking positive change and in highlighting the wrongs of social injustice around the world.
The fact is, we all want to feel relevant and involved in the things that are happening. We want to matter and social media allows for that to be possible. It gives a voice to those that would regularly not have a platform to be heard. Let’s be honest. When we post that picture or that quote and the likes and the shares start coming in, it does something to us, it makes us feel…good.
I know social media has changed me, not all for bad and not all for good. It is something that has become so entwined into my lifestyle that it would be hard to see life without it. It has always been said that information is power, but without ways of distributing this information, we cannot harness that power. Well, we now have the distribution. But if we really think about it, is it making us more powerful or highlighting our weaknesses?
How are we using the power that social media provides, not even necessarily from a cumulative standpoint but on a personal level? How am I portraying myself? Will I look back on a Facebook memory and say: “What the hell was I smoking?” or will I say: “That was a quality post.” and repost it. One thing is for certain, what is posted on social media stays on social media, regardless of how fast we try to delete and forget it, so if it’s already changing us, let’s at least try to make it good.