I have always been a huge advocate for social interaction. Social Media is great, its a wonderful thing to be able to connect to so many different and unique people from all over the world. However, according to a recent study done by Gather, a social media site dedicated to supporting discussions between like-minded people, only around 14 percent of Britons take advantage of the chances social media presents.
Sadly, I’d have to say I agree. If you look at my generation, born in 1990, we have, what I think is, a great blending of managing our social media lives and our actual social lives. We can be on social media and like others posts, share what we’re doing, or connect with friends from school or work or college. At the same time we can actually start a conversation, or reach out to someone and say “Hey! This is really awesome, I love how you did this…”
Now, if you look at the “millennial generation” you see drastic differences in social interaction. They post a new Snapchat story, or Tweet about their last meal, or put a new “selfie” up on Instagram and cross their fingers it gets enough likes for them to be able to sleep that night. Practically none of them actually hang out with one another though! Or even make an attempt to start a conversation with one of their hundreds of friends on Facebook.
The independent study done by Gather found that 82 percent of Britons do not get much of anything from social media. 82 percent! That is a HUGE number, when you figure that that’s what social media is there for right? Christ, “social” is in the name. Yet, here we are. In a similar study, Gather stated that 98 percent of respondents connect with likeminded people, but only 24 percent actually discuss their interests!
Here’s another one, though this one isn’t nearly as shocking to me, and I’ll get into why in a moment. 84 percent stated that their friends lists are largely made up of complete strangers. Of this 84 percent, only 16 percent prefer to actually connect with real life friends.
So what does all this mean? Well if its not blatantly apparent, it means that a solid chunk of our generations have become socially inept. It means we as a society are on more of a path to becoming a bunch of disconnected hermits than an actual “social” species. Some how “social” media has made people more concerned about likes and the number of friends you have than forming actual meaningful relationships, and that’s pretty freakin’ sad.
“Despite Social media’s growth towards being ingrained in out society only 12% of those surveyed stated that they have made a connection online that has turned into a real friendship,” reads the report.
What. The. Fuck?! This passive consumption of content is a slippery slope, making social media the polar opposite, making its users unhappier the more they use it. Social interaction is part of how, we as humans, develop and grow. How can we learn or evolve as a species if we shy away from anyone that wants to talk? For some reason as long as we get over a certain number of likes, or we get enough people to swipe right, or enough shares we’re content with that being considered our “social involvement” for the day.
For most of what we do online being considered “social” these statistics should be the opposite of what they are. Get out there and make the 84% be that of people that have developed actual relationships. Make the majority of your Facebook friends people you actually know! Nothing feels better than a good FaceBook purging. Its no wonder things like Brexit or Trump being elected president happened! Our species is turning into a bunch of mindless zombies that passively devour what we see on social media instead of having meaningful interactions that make us legitimately THINK.
So in summation, make friends, put yourself out there and interact with others, its not as scary as you think. Challenge yourself to put your phone down for an hour and go for an effing walk! Make yourself the 14%, not the 84% and make it so future generations grow up knowing its ok to talk with others, people aren’t that scary.