Imagine you are at a café, with a coffee in hand, and as you take a sip, you look around. The only noise you can hear is the soft whirring of the machines, the door opening and closing and orders going through. Hardly any conversations are heard as time is taken up by an intangible activity. Faces are lit up by a bright white light as eyes are quickly taking in flashing colours and posts. A very ordinary person comes in, buys a drink, takes a picture of it then proceeds to tap on their phone before taking a sip and continuing on their way as if this is an everyday occurrence.
In a different situation, imagine that you are at a music concert, your favourite singer has walked onto the stage and is addressing the audience. Once they begin to sing, phones are out and recording every move. Even though people think that they are ‘living in the moment’ eyes are still glued to screens desperate to capture every second and post it later on for the world to see. People are still living through their screens and social media only influences that.
In short, as a society, we are not social. Gone are the days of good old-fashioned conversation. We no longer have memories of perfect days, special people and a time where we were in the moment, living our lives in reality. We have photos upon photos, thousands upon thousands. But do you think anybody is actually interested in what you had for dinner? Your perfect face? Your new this? Your sparkly that? We have become self-obsessed. Lost in a virtual world, are we more ‘connected’ by inventing virtual headsets and holographic people or are we moving backwards? Backwards… to the time of cavemen, where we communicated in simple pictures for simple minds, our speech came in grunts and oohs and wahs. For a while we became smarter and progressed over thousands of years to develop a sophisticated language but we are going back to the time of cavemen. Sadly, but yes, Shakespeare would turn in his grave at the sight of the elegant English language slipping down the plughole at the hands mechanised monsters. What is the difference between ooh and lol? Wah and gtg? Simple stickmen on cave walls and disturbingly yellow faces? The word is just becoming a sea of simple-minded yellow smileys drifting further and further away from reality.
To sum things up, the term ‘social’ media is the complete opposite of what it means. It causes people to become anti-social, in fact almost so anti-social that the only person left in their lives is themselves. Social media is just a distraction that people use to look they are doing something, or they’re really not lonely in life. It makes people obsessive over, in reality, a rectangular brick of metal and plastic. The real question is, are we ever in the moment anymore? Do we ever stop to listen to the twittering of birds or the howling of winds? No. These bricks of metal and plastic are taking over everyone’s lives. Get over it. Just put that thing away for some time. Maybe it will do you some good.
Ella Bonelli, Joy Koay and Aoife Meachem