social media

Social media: Is it really anti-social or not?

Social media is becoming more popular day on day, and today Facebook boasts more than 750 million daily users. We seem to have an uncontrollable need to know the useless and annoying stuff that our friends around the country are doing right this second. And again five seconds later. But we seem to spend more time online than actually with our friends.

Many have accused those with this internet obsession to be unsociable, but is social media really that anti-social?

Anti-social socialising

It can’t be denied that on one level, social media has turned us into an anti-social generation. I can safely say that I spend more time looking at a computer or phone screen than I do a human face almost every day.

In my house, it has got to the point where I communicate with my sister, who is sat in a room across the corridor, through Facebook messaging rather than tackle the 30 second walk. And, I have friends who will text their parents who are sat just downstairs.

But for those who aren’t on social media, today’s is a world unconnected. It is possible that your social life can take a hit if you get obsessed with social media. But, paradoxically, if you are not on social media, you will have a very limited social life.

Almost all social events, ranging from a coffee morning with the girls to big nights out and trips away, are organised on Facebook. So, if you’re not on Facebook the chances are you will miss out.

Greater range

Now that social media sites are so popular, they have grown to encompass everything you could possibly need including the latest news updates and hand selected YouTube videos. In catering for all this, social media sites are attracting a wider range of customers. Social media is no longer just for Generation Y, but has developed to attract parents and grandparents.

These customers use social media sites for many different reasons; in order to re-connect with childhood friends, develop work relationships and connect with their children’s schools. This use of social media, however, encourages and furthers, rather than harms, social connections.

Distance contact

As a university student, living miles away from family and friends from home, keeping home relationships alive can be really difficult. Not keeping in contact with people can easily ruin a relationship, meaning that summers at home can be lonely. So, social media is vital to maintain these relationships.

With Facebook popular enough to ensure that almost everyone is a member, social media is the perfect way to keep in touch with friends and family. It’s a quick, easy and efficient way to keep in contact with friends from home and family whilst away at university, and uni friends whilst at home over the holidays.

Plus, newer sites and applications such as FaceTime and Skype allow traditional face to face socialising via social media across the country. These are perfect for university students and those who travel long distances for their job in order to maintain home relationship whilst away.

So although social media can be rather addictive and engross us so much that we seem to spend longer staring at a screen each day than spending time with humans, social media doesn’t create anti-social people. Actually, social media is used to augment rather than replace real world relationships.

So maybe we should be encouraging active social media use, rather than condemning it.

Do you think social media is anti-social? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: mkhmarketing / Flickr