Among daily social media updates, chats, stories and posts, are we really Being Social?
Aristotle famously said, “Man is by nature a social animal. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self- sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” None of us are god obviously and none of us are beast hopefully; we are all humans.
We are most comfortable when we’re connected, sharing strong emotions and stories. We intuitively realized that there is strength in numbers, and take comfort in the company of others, especially in times of anxiety or need.
Then social media came along; to feed us to our need to express emotions and get validation. Ever since the inception of social media till now, it has been serving its purpose of interaction, communication and entertainment. Currently, there are 2.2 billion active users of social media and 1.8 billion photos are uploaded online every single day. No doubt that the use of social media for its intended purpose has gone a bit overboard, but it still seems to be getting stronger and better. It is estimated that the number of active social media users shall increase to some 3.02 billion by 2021.
We use social media every day. It’s more convenient; there is no easier or faster way to make a connection than via social media and this can help one with variety of things such as finding romance, seeking a new job or simply to share things. Social media, to an extent has removed the gaucherie involved in getting to know someone. Most relationships start just with an “hi” on these platforms and that’s completely fine. Friends can catch up on what’s happening in their life more seamlessly and can fix a meeting even after years of complete no contacts and all this possible due to the existence of social media.
Social media and technology has brought power back to the people. Information is no longer saturated in the hands of few. Information is now always in our hands. We know what is going on in the world just by scrolling through the trending topics on these platforms. We’re always well informed on what’s happening in various parts of the world and what’s happening to whom and so on. It can and is being used to voice awareness on various social and political issues and to show support to various peoples, ideas and ideologies. People are able to express themselves more openly and understand others view which helps the people to join for a particular cause.
We can now also be a part of an online community where everyone shares the same interest as us, and pick those whose likes and dislikes are similar to ours, and built a network around who share our interest.
But, has this made us anymore social than before? Is being social only about the number of followers and number of likes you get on these social media platforms?
We have exploited social media for its benefits and accepted it for its flaws. According to a study conducted, it was stated that we touch our phones 150 times a day. It’s sad to see two people sitting across a table and both of their eyes glued to their phones. By this time, even our parents have stopped nagging us for our excessive use of our smart phones because even they have been gripped by the infectious convenience of social media.
Social media has interfered in every aspect of our lives and relationships and we happily allowed it to. We may have more social networks than our ancestors did at your age but does that mean our ancestors were less social than us? In a study conducted, it was found that in 2001, an average person had 10 close friends and now the number has decreased to 2. So, has social media really made us more social or is it the other way around?
Social media by the end of the day is just a medium, to get socialized. It’s upon us, how we get socialized, it’s upon us, how we become social. Some of us are more extrovert and expressive and some of us are more introvert and reserved by default. Regardless to which category you fall under, social media can help you in enhancing your social life.
So, what are things we can do to enhance our social life and develop social skills through social media?
Handling our reservation: Social media can be a great way to address our insecurities. We can re-create our reputation through social media. We get to decide what we share on these platforms. We can show the side of our personality that we are most comfortable and along with it we can also take gradual steps to address our insecurities and be more open and bold.
Be welcoming: Everyone wants to be around happy person. Showing our positivity and sharing fun things online can enhance our online presence. Interacting with someone is all about being genuine and open-minded weather its face to face conversation or online chats. PS, using an emoji never hurts.
Accept and offer: One of the best ways to get socialized more effectively is by accepting and offering invitation to meet new people and to catch up with old friends. Join a club or group of like-minded people and people will just flow into our lives. And what’s the best way to do all the above, yes Social Media.
At the end, we conclude by saying, let’s be social. We all are the same, we all have the same needs to share, connect and feel safe. We humans are by default designed to be social. We have a great tool in hand right now to socialize with people. So if you ever feel lonely or insecure, just know that it does not have to be that way and it can change just with a click.