Friday, December 15, 2017

Open Space: Make social media social again

October 5, 2016 by Tyler McCulloch, contributing writer

As metal machines of death impatiently rage on to nowhere in an age of isolation and self-loathing, phones have become gods; the screen is the messiah’s call. The outside world is just so mundane. Yawn as your brain splatters, and with your last breath be sure to take a selfie; the blood in your hair is so in. And as you die amongst a sea of phones posting your bloodied pulp of a body to the masses, your messiah speaks to you, blessing you with a final prayer: “Warning: low battery.”

Social media consumes a large majority of our time. Over two-thirds of our day is spent sleeping, going to work and school, and other responsibilities. What free time is left is frequently spent in front of a screen engaging with no one.

Sure, we all need to tune out and shut off our brains for a while, but if it comes at the expense of missing out on real-life experiences, then we’re really missing the social part of social media.

This story originally appeared in our October 5, 2016 issue.

This story originally appeared in our October 5, 2016 issue.

We’re socially connected, yet we see less of the people we know. Social media is transforming us into a non-committed, I’ll-just-stay-at-home-or-reply-later society. It’s become the norm for plans to fall through.

Social media has dehumanized communication, becoming the middleman between connections to the point where we forget that the people we’re messaging are real human beings, not just a profile picture and a line of text. We feel less obligated to someone when we can’t see their face or hear their voice.

We’re constantly comparing our lives to the lives of people we see online. Every cherry-picked photo and witty remark reveals only a fraction of that person, but you don’t realize that; instead, you compare your life to a news feed of highlights while simultaneously forgetting that your own profile is a highlight reel as well.

“But I only use it to stay in touch.” Sure, but the majority of the people you connect with are close friends; even the lost connections are found, then lost again.

Social media can act as a platform to showcase passions, businesses, and charities; it can be a place to voice opinions and support those making a difference. Huge changes in the world have happened because of mass social-media awareness.

However, these things are the minority. Likes and re-posts aren’t saving lives.

Trolling, hate, and bullying thrive in this virtual world. These toxic behaviours are only simple annoyances to some, but these actions can truly affect the well-being of others.

Social media is moulding our culture and boxing us in with windows of distraction.

There’s another window, though—it’s all around you and it doesn’t fit inside your pocket. It’s where the highlights of your real life exist.

If our social lives continue to be shaped and manipulated, then the fate of our human experiences will not thrive and progress. Instead, they will die in silence before a back-lit screen of solitude.

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