Let’s not get caught up in social media

I will be the first person to admit I am a social media junkie. My iPhone is permanently glued to my hand, and I am relentlessly connected to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and my blog. I think in 140-character snippets and sensible status updates most of the time. I waste no time in posting pictures or liking and commenting on someone else’s activity.

We are living in an age where connectivity is as easy as a few simple clicks or entering login information. In a matter of seconds, we can connect with someone halfway across campus or someone halfway around the world. It is remarkable, if you really think about it.

And by now, if you haven’t hopped on the social media bandwagon in some form or another, you’re almost considered outdated or obsolete. Social networking has quickly become the norm.

There are so many positive sides of social networking that people often fail to see the downsides. While they are-in my opinion-few and far between, the fact remains that the negatives do exist and they are becoming gradually more evident.

With connection and interaction at our fingertips, it is becoming increasingly easier to replace face-to-face interpersonal interaction with virtual relationships. Online acquaintances you have met one time in real life are boosted to “friend” status. Instead of picking up the phone to call family or friends separated by distance, we find it easier and more convenient to write on their Facebook timeline or send a tweet their way.

I’m in a pot-calling-the-kettle-black situation here because I do the exact same thing. Last week, though, one of my professors pointed out the slow decay of interpersonal relationships due to the fact that we now have computer screens and smart phones to hide behind.

In the hustle and bustle of school, work, sports or social calendars, it’s easy to let relationships fall to the wayside. It’s easy to label a Facebook chat as spending time with our friends. We look at pictures and automatically assume that we know what is going on in the lives of people we know, when really we haven’t had a conversation with them in months.

We need to go back to the time where we didn’t keep up with our cousin’s life via Facebook albums or learn about our best friend’s engagement from a changed relationship status. Social networking can be an important part of our lives, but it shouldn’t be the function that defines our lives.