Social Media or Social Disease

I was not clever enough to make up that title. Chantelle Anderson, a professional basketball in the WNBA, wrote the original blog entry, Social Media or Social Disease, and I just want to comment on. I was actually directed to her blog by a different blog on ESPN.com by Ryan Corazza.

She makes some really interesting points about society and it’s fascination with being able to know what’s going on in a person’s life almost 24/7, of course assuming that the person in question regularly updates their social media account.

I have a Facebook and a MySpace account, but for different reasons. My MySpace account is to keep up with bands that I like and to find new bands to like, and until about two weeks ago, it was my main way to keep in touch with my op-pa and some of my other friends that are in the military, because it’s a whole lot easier for them to blog a note about their lives in Afganistan or Iraq and have anyone that’s interested read it, rather than to individually write every single person the same e-mail. My Facebook account is to keep in touch with people that I KNOW, I actually can say that I know every single person that is listed as a friend and that I don’t mind telling them what’s happening in my life, whenever something happens.

But at the same time I do have both of my accounts private, so that not everything that I do shows up in people’s newsfeeds. And it does weird me out when someone has purposely read my wall to find out what I’ve been doing or what I have planned to do, with whom, etc. There definitely is a bizarre fascination with knowing everything that you can about another person and what’s going on in the world. When I was growing up, the idea of a 24/7 news channel was crazy, who would want to watching nothing but news all day long, but CNN, MSNBC, BBC News, and FOXnews (and even Al-Jazeera, no matter how much I dislike it) have been more than successful and are here to stay indefinitely. And to be honest what would we do without them? The same thoughts and comments were made about an all-sports channel and ESPN is a household name (and at last count 2 babies have been named after). Now there is a channel dedicated to entertainment news and to be honest, celebrity gossip, a channel solely for the weather, there used to be a channel dedicated to music (now it’s just “celebrity reality” television shows, etc. All so that we can be informed any minute that we choose to be.

But on the other hand, as an expat, having these forms of social media have in a sense “saved” me. I would much rather talk to friends face to face than on the phone, but being abroad, it’s really expensive for me to talk on the phone when I want to. Since I’ve been in Korea, I have never had a phone call from any friends because of the expense and because of the time difference. I do have Skype and I do use it to call friends, but for everyone back in Texas when it’s 10pm here in Seoul, it’s 8am there and everyone has either class or work at that time. So if I blog about what’s going on, everyone can see what’s happening in my life at a time that’s convinient for them. And more conviniently for me, I don’t have to e-mail the same e-mail to several friends, unless it’s something personal.

Another comment she makes that interests me is the progression of social interaction has changed, Iwould love to know if there was actual data that could show when exactly society turned about from strong interpersonal communication skills to relying on social media to communicate. And also if there was an strong data-based correlation between the rise of social media and the increasing breakdowns in the family?

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