Newsweek just tweeted, “Is Facebook ruining modern friendship? http://bit.ly/RLG5zf”
I don’t understand why people are getting angry at technology for change–especially for how people communicate. Just as people say, “Facebook is ruining our children’s ability to socialize correctly,” or, “texting is just the socially-incompetent person’s way of talking,” people once said, “the phone takes away from people’s ability to write.”
There is bound to be backlash to any sort of new technology, but it feels like people are now just complaining about things like Facebook and Twitter just to hear their own voices. Facebook has been around for enough years that people should not be used to it. My grandparents are avid users of Facebook because they can tak to their kids and grandkids who are scattered across the nation. I love Twitter so I can hear the daily musings of my favorite authors and the great thinkers of our day.
The most common argument I hear about social media is that our generation no longer know how to communicate. Guess what, world? I go on Facebook everyday. I tweet constantly. I Skype a few times a month. I write a blog. I text multiple times a day. But guess what else I can do? i communicate in conventional ways. I talk on the phone to my sister who lives hundreds of miles away. I write letters to those I love. I schedule coffee dates to have a face-to-face conversations with those I just met or those I’ve known for years. Just because I use social media does not mean I am incapable of communicating my thoughts and ideas. I take my relationships with people very seriously and pursue them with the avenues available to me–whether that be with a pen and paper or over Facebook chat.
I know I am not the only one in my generation that use social media and can still communicate. Obviously this is not true for everyone. There are many people who just post stupid pictures of them at a jagillion parties throughout the year, but those people would have partied whether or not there was a site for them to chronicle those adventures. Now those who criticize the young generation have more places to pull from for their evidence of what’s wrong with us.
People are always looking for reasons to judge and criticize the up and coming young people in our country. Do you remember what your parents and grandparents said about your generation? Doesn’t it look silly now? This is an ongoing cycle. The same things are said with certain blanks filled by whatever the fad is. “These young folks are so silly with their _____ and their _____. I’m concerned for this generation. They are not making good decisions by doing ______ and ______.” Of course you can look at these generations with more wisdom since you can see the present with the history and experience you bring, but we have not gotten the chance to make mistake and learn from them yet. Constantly criticizing young people only makes them less likely to seek out your advice. I am much more likely to pursue a relationship with someone who appreciates the chuztaph young people have that seems to get lost over the years as they learn to take less risks.
Because of modern technology, I was able to talk to my grandmother over Skype about a week before she passed away. No one in their right mind would criticize that. I got to see her joyful face and talk about little things that don’t matter, but we talked and smiled at each other.
As much as we judge social media, maybe we need to just evaluate how we use it. And if you don’t like what that twenty-year old posted, then de-friend them or hide them from your news feed. Criticizing someone is not going to change their habits; only you can change how you react to them.
Going back to Newsweek’s tweet, is Facebook ruining modern friendship? No, I don’t think so. If anything, Facebook is redefining friendship. Relationships constantly shift, so why can’t it’s broader definition? Facebook is just a factor in how we see friendship.
Facebook is like cheese. Cheese can be a good thing to eat. It has nutritional benefits that help kids grow and strengthen bones; however, when consumed too much, you can gain weight and become unhealthy. Use Facebook in the right way, and it can benefit you rather than destroy you.