Social Media – Friend or Foe?

While I might be in the minority, I’m going to risk admitting that I believe for every positive benefit of social media there is likely a potential downside. Don’t get me wrong, I liked seeing Aunt Pat’s photos from her road trip to Alaska this summer and Skyping with my friends from around the world is a great way to stay in touch. The problem is that spending too much time with social media can sometimes get in the way of true interpersonal relationships and real life experiences.

A quick online search revealed a number of possible negative consequences from overuse of social media.  Of greatest concern to me is Nature Deficit Disorder where children are completely disengaged from the natural world as they spend increasing time online, texting, gaming, and watching TV. The results can lead to poorer interpersonal skills, inability to focus, and decreased physical fitness. The blog Nature on Demand by clinical psychotherapist Patricia Hasbach makes a compelling case for this point. See: http://www.childrenandnature.org/blog/2012/08/15/nature-on-demand-a-leading-ecopsychologist-compares-real-nature-to-tech-nature/

Social media stress also seems to be occurring more readily with some as people struggle to keep up with their ever-expanding profiles and contacts.  Social Media Stress? There’s an app for that! by Jeremy Wagstaff comments on an app created by Nestle that is designed to give young social media users a break from the stress of posting updates. Yes, this is a real app.  See: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/08/net-us-kitkat-idUSBRE8470CX20120508

Finally, there are some who suggest that while social media might keep us connected to friends and family, it might also provide a false perception of close interpersonal relationships and, in some situations, lead to even greater feelings of isolation. See: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-ways-social-media-is-changing-your-relationships/#more-3898

These are only a few of the potential negatives consequences of social media. As with any vice, a little balance and moderation can prevent the negative and enhance the positive aspects of this medium.  The following videos demonstrate a lighter look at what happens when things go too far.  Enjoy!

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About Kim Gideon

I'm an Educator, Public Speaker, and Sustainable Living and Wellness enthusiast who is seeking a more balanced way of living.
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7 Responses to Social Media – Friend or Foe?

  1. psyclife says:

    Social media can enable a company to engage in a two-way conversation with a community establish themselves as a thought leader, stay on top of breaking news and current trends, and spread the word about work to a vastly diverse online audience.

    Social media has also been responsible for most of the rumors and controversies of today’s world due to their nature of fast spreading word. But it is very wrong to say that they are a major source of problems. If we look at the brighter side of the social media’s fast paced communication, the success of several social awareness campaigns lights a positive note in our minds.

    At first glance social media may seem to be the enemy: too much work to maintain, too complicated to grasp, and too dangerous to mess up. But doing nothing is hardly the appropriate response; your customers are talking regardless of what you do or don’t do. Realizing that social media gives organizations a chance to converse directly with customers and, more importantly, understand who they are, what they want, and what they are saying is essential to grabbing the social media reins.

    I believe that social media is a friend but can be a Foe if used improperly both for business and personally.

  2. psyclife says:

    I liked the videos posted and it does support the point being made by the author.

  3. Lisa K. says:

    Kim, great job on this assignment. I agree that we as individuals seem to be still learning how to give ourselves the space that we need from technology at times. I love the ‘Stressed out by SM app’ that’s priceless.

  4. Jeff Florey says:

    I think in this day and age there is always a bit of skepticism when it comes to constantly being connected and possibly neglecting basic human needs in pursuit of networking. I think this problem of not truly connecting with nature and society has been a problem long before social networking outlets became mainstream. People have been keeping inside their respective houses for centuries now and it is up to a culture to emphasize the importance of interacting with the surrounding community and landscape. Video games, cell phones and the suburbs have contributed to these issues, but social networking might be adding to this isolation problem. Like you said, “moderation” is key and we humans must learn to control ourselves from the increasing “wants” in life. These videos lighten the mood of the serious articles listed. How do we find a happy medium? When will we put needs over wants?

  5. Joanne Lovito-Nelson says:

    It is often difficult to take an opposing view of something so popular as social media. I agree that moderation and common sense must come into play in many aspects of our lives, including the use of social media. I was actually dismayed with what I learned in some of our class presentations. The idea of paying for, and sending a virtual gift really got me going. It is the “paying for” part that I could not wrap my head around. I hope I never receive a “non-gift” that someone actually spent money on, especially a child. I also see the point about isolation and can relate it back to one of my grandchildren.

    Social media does have a place, and I see it as very valuable in many ways. Social media is an integral part of the world we live in, but it must be used wisely. I would like to add that I appreciate the willingness to go out on a limb and address the negative aspects of social media.

  6. Kim good job with this blog report. Stress is what I called one of the “side effects” from social media. Actively looking for something new to post, add, remove, or edit in our online profiles can be very stressful, this is due to fact that social media has become more additive and possessive.

  7. Chris says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with the first paragraph that Kimberly wrote. Personally every bit of that is true. I have said it all along, we use social media to socialize but yet we don’t tend to make the effort to interact with people we see on the streets. Granted we won’t be able to meet people from the other side of the globe as we step out our front door, but there’s the human interaction that is more than just visual.

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