The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Social media not a social substitute

Viewpoint by Joshua Knopp/entertainment editor

How many people do you interact with on a daily basis? How many people do you interact with face-to-face on a daily basis? One of those numbers is probably bigger than the other, and it’s almost guaranteed to be the wrong one.

Everyone now has a cell phone and Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. With Twitter providing an avenue to publish the minutia of our daily lives, cell phones providing a mobile chat room and Facebook providing both, it becomes easy to see how layered electronic communications are right now.

Does this seem like a negative to anyone else? A mentality seems to have grown in a majority of modern late-teens to early-20s of “If you can tell someone something in 250 characters, why talk?”

This say-the-bare-minimum mentality has caused a great deal of changes to our society, all of which add up to a cultural loss. The advent of SMS language, for instance, has been blamed for trivializing our “gr8” language.

A few studies have shown that driving while texting is more dangerous than doing so while drunk.

None of these would be big problems if they were used as supplements to real interaction, but increasingly they are used as replacements of face-to-face contact. How many times have people said they were too busy to get together, but not too busy to keep texting? 

Facebook, Twitter and cell phones, when taken in moderation, are powerful community-building tools that allow us to take our friends and loved ones home with us. But they will never replace our friends and loved ones.

Once in a while, hold an actual conversation on a cell phone. If you have the money, take that trip down to Austin to see the friends you don’t see very often. If you have something important to say to someone, say it so they can experience the look in your eye, the inflection of your voice and the feel of your hand — not just their same screen that you share with all their other contacts.

Social media is a great way to facilitate personal interaction, but it gets in the way sometimes. Always remember that there is a face on the other side of that screen. Interact with it sometime.

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