Social Media and the Modern Relationship

*this story was written during my freshman year of college

We are living in a digital age. Technology has impacted all areas of our lives. Even the way we date and interact with others is done through the use of technology.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are now part of our daily lives and more than anything else, these sites provide better ways to keep in touch with friends and family. However, when you look at these technologies as a whole, Myspace, texting, Craigslist, etc, you have to weigh the cons.

Online dating sites can help you find love, but it is very easy to say that you’re someone you are not. Also, with the use of texting and social networking sites, the hours per day of face-to-face socializing have declined.

Texting has quickly become the communication technology of the twenty-first century. Although it makes staying in touch with loved ones easier, it is also very distracting. For these reasons and more, technology has a mostly negative effect on our most personal relationships.

When using the computer to meet new people, it is very important to know what you’re doing and to be very careful. You never know if that cute girl you’re chatting with on Facebook is even a girl. This is the huge problem with building new relationships online. It’s incredibly easy to use an old picture to attract younger singles on a dating site and this isn’t a crime. However, predators usually use pictures of other people when they’re trying to find people via the internet.

Essentially what we’re talking about is your online identity. It is easy to portray someone else and online everyone else will see you as that person. In an online relationship this is fine and can be enjoyable for the both of you. Unfortunately, if you try to take the relationship public, it can be a disaster, because you are a different person.

There are many advantages to texting and social networking sites, but all that pales in comparison to having a real life conversation. You lose that true life interaction you get with a face-to-face conversation. Even a phone call seems extremely impersonal when you compare it to hanging out with your friends and chatting with them. When you take away facial expressions and verbal articulation; “LOL”s and emoticons can only do so much.

For example, a sad face on a tiny cell phone screen is a poor substitute for a hug when someone just found out their dog died. It is very rude, and borderline cruel, to tell someone important or emotional information using the internet or through texts. An example of this would be breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

The same goes for work etiquette. You wouldn’t send your boss a text message letting them know you’re sick and won’t be able to make the big meeting. It’s all a matter of using common sense and being polite.

In a recent study, it was found that texting puts you at a risk twenty-three times greater than when you are not texting. “The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which compiled the research, also measured the time drivers took their eyes off the road to send or receive texts. In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices.” This is enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.

In addition to putting your life at risk on the road, text messaging is often an enormous distraction in the classroom or when you’re on a date. Texting in class can result in plummeting grades, because you aren’t focusing in class. When you are on a date and one of your buddies texts you, more often than not, you’ll reply. This is rude to the person you’re with and can have a very negative effect on a relationship.

It is obvious that the technology of today has many positive effects on our day-to-day lives. It can help us get a job or aid us in keeping in touch with old friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, these same technologies have many negative aspects and can ruin a person’s life.

These same technologies will continue and advance. We have no idea what is in store for us tomorrow. Hopefully the smart men and women working on this technology will find ways to make the experience more personal with others and safer to use.

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