While I believe that the advancements in technology and the rise in use of social media platforms have given us the ability to be able to be more connected but yet I have seen a decline in the fundamental skills of learning how to be social. We hide behind computer screens or our phones, allowing our online avatar’s of ‘us’ to represent who we are and are forming behaviors non-exemplary of how we would, or SHOULD behave as a respectful human being. We also allow this to impact our emotional health and continue to follow ‘trends’ in order to be ‘popular’, but at what cost? Are these ‘social’ norms really ‘social’, or are we loosing our ability to truly socialize and form meaningful connections with others?
I’ve broken down my thought process into several different categories that I would like to discuss as bullet point topics. This is from the view point of a child from the 80s who grew up learning HOW to be social by…well, being a real life human being and going out in the world and developing real life skills on how to be social with others…looking at modern day trends across all generations who interact online, including self-reflecting of how my own behaviors have changed, or remained the same.
I will be hosting a LIVE Youtube discussion Wednesday 2/25/20 at 3pm CST on these topics where we can all be SOCIAL and discuss our own thoughts and opinions based around these observations. So make sure to click the link below and set your reminder if you would like to join the live discussion.
The art of GHOSTING
One of my personal favorite behaviors that just demonstrates complete lack of respect as a human being is the art of ghosting. No longer are the days when if we have a bad date, or no longer wish to continue a friendship/relationship/partnership do we actually TELL the person our reasoning for doing so. I mean, why bother !?!? We don’t owe anyone shit right? F*k them, disappear into the crowd of the city, hit that block button, problem solved. Now we can move on with our lives, wipe our hands clean without having to do any ‘dirty work’ wasn’t that easy? But wait… here’s another person displaying similar behaviors, repeat. How does this make us feel when it happens TO us? No bother, “it’s just the way life is” so let’s keep doing it.
A BIG problem I see with this type of behavior is how we are training ourselves and others as a society to basically just behave like a piece of shit, and that’s ok! We wonder why people continue to behave like a piece of shit, but if no one tells them their behavior is unacceptable there’s nothing to teach them WHY they get blocked or can’t form relationships. With that slightly extreme example in mind there is no LIFE LESSON. There is no connection of the behavior to the action and why.
If I act like a dick in real life I get punched in the face. If I act like a dick online, nothing happens, maybe I get blocked, maybe not. The severity or lack of interactions breeds a playground of HOW we SHOULD be interacting with one another and what is acceptable.
Continuing on the idea of HOW we are being trained to interact with one another, another layer of our interactions are how we perceive one another. Later I will address the issues on how we perceive ourselves and project this avatar version of ourselves online.
Many experience a level of detachment when interacting with others online. We are just behind a computer screen, on a phone, viewing and interacting with videos or text and start to behave as such. We start to detach ourselves from the reality that there is a real life HUMAN BEING you are interacting with, one with similar thoughts and feelings to your own.
In the world of online dating culture really hammers this point home as we are no longer seeing a person, but an OBJECT. It’s like online shopping….but for a human. With the swipe of a finger we can either choose to connect or to dismiss a person. Again, no need for an actual meaningful interaction, just swipe to find the perfect mate. I’m waiting for the future of ‘Build-A-Boyfriend’ shops where you can go in and just design the “perfect person” for you….after all who needs a soul anyways ?!?
This mentality of the Swipe Left Culture goes hand-in-hand with the ghosting as well. Once we have detached ourselves from the reality of speaking with a real human being, it’s easy to forget that we should show a level of respect to one another as we would expect the same for others to treat us this way. Don’t feel like interacting with someone anymore? Just ghost them…they’ll get the hint. Or save yourself the trouble and just block them. Problem solved.
I debated on including this in the discussion however I feel this topic is particularly impactful. I do notice a society, both in person and online, that are going to crazy extremes in order to maintain a personal standard of image but want to discuss this topic as in a digital realm we can create realities of impossible standards and also how this impacts our emotional health. All of which in turn impacts our actions, behaviors and thoughts towards others and what standards to do hold to them and how do we treat others that either do or don’t do the same?
Boy that last paragraph was a mouthful and I hope that made sense lol.
We as individuals have always cared about how we are perceived. Long before the internet was around this is a common theme throughout human history. We have always “dressed for the job we wanted” so-to-speak and treated others with the same respect we wanted in return in order to up hold the perception we wanted to proceed us. Clothes, make-up and physical body appearance are all superficial ways of maintain “our look.” Today we are in the realm of taking material goods, wealth, plastic surgery to extremes in order to show “our look” and in the online world this is no different. With programs such as photoshop or apps such as facetune, we can physically alter so much of ourselves that we loose the person we become. There are many great articles and videos on the emotional/mental impact this has when we are altering ourselves to an un-achievable standard I suggest you research this if it interests you.
But how are these standards of self impacting others? We start to see cultural norms where these actions are….well, just what everyone does. So when you see an online profile ( not a human being bc who really thinks its an actual human anymore ) and theyre not doing the same behaviors then its not “normal.” That person is no longer attractive or desirable… and, well… gets ‘swiped’ away. After-all theyre just a THING on a computer screen. And it was unattractive.
In this community you can’t be a true ‘witch’ unless you live in a cottage, have a witch hat, wear dark clothes, have cool finger tattoos and you better damn well have a cat as a pet! What kind of unrealistic expectations are we holding for others? What kind of ‘aesthetic’ are we supporting by continuing to engage with accounts that further drive home this imposed superficial message? If this “account” doesn’t meet this superficial judgement does that make them someone who you “know” you won’t connect with? Have you actually taken the time to try and just talk to the PERSON and get to know them?
Lastly I want to wrap up the discussion with some topics to think about and how you can be a social media warrior! Upholding the same respect you wish to be treated with, by not falling into negative social behavioral norms and just generally not be a piece of shit lol
How often do you reach out and engage with others online? Are you the type of person that sits back and let’s others message you or do you reach out to others? This simple behavior also exercised in real life is how healthy relationships work. It’s a situation of MUTUAL respect given where the relationship has balance. No friendship ever works out where one party is the only person to ever reach out or show care or concern for the other party…. something to think about. How often do you reach out and engage with others in your life?
How often do you support the people you care about? Support comes in many different ways but by supporting the people you care about in your life this is an act of love that on the surface can be just a simple act of respect to others too. In the online community being there to support others can come in many different forms. Reaching out, building genuine relationships through shared interactions, liking a post, commenting or sharing posts, watching videos, shouting them out or recognizing their achievements, tagging friends; All are easy, free, ways to interact with others online in a healthy respectful way.
It’s OK to disagree sometimes! No relationship is perfect, no where near it as a matter of fact lol. So why hold this unrealistic expectation of the “friends” you have online? How often have you blocked someone just because you disagree with something they have said once? How many times have you had a conversation with the person in a calm respectful manner about why you disagree with something ? Do you set these healthy boundaries where each person has a fair chance in the relationship to learn one another and grow stronger together? Or do you choose to perpetuate the “problem” by blocking and allowing someone else to take care of it?
Do you give others the same attention you feel your deserve? Or should you change your name to Casper the Ghost? How many unread messages do you have on your Instagram, or unanswered messages on facebook, how many people have taken the time to leave a response here on your blog that you are just “too busy” to even hit the like button? Each. And. Every. One. Of. Us. as a HUMAN being just want to be seen and heard, and in my opinion deserve that respect. When someone takes the time to message you, to comment on your photos, or videos, or blogs how often do you at the very least just ‘like’ it? Granted that literally took like zero effort but some can’t muster the time to even do that much. Yet alone take the time to leave a response and give an opportunity to engage and potentially make a friend, and idk…actually be social on social media 😉
I would LOVE it if you want to be social and join me live on YouTube for this discussion! I always appreciate your input and unique perspectives! Again we will be doing it this…………………. feel free to click on the link below. Make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already, hit the notification bell to get reminder of when we will go live! I look forward to seeing you then Baby Squirrel! Much love and light!