Coming from the small town of Key West, Florida, I grew up in a budding, well-connected community where everyone knew each other’s business! A common saying in my town was “When you get to work, first check your email, and then the jail site to see who has been arrested.” Due to my town’s fast communication, I was unfortunately aware of all the tragedies. However, news of these events didn’t come from my mother or my friend telling me.
Instead, social media has become my informant on all things important and relevant. As technology progresses, I’ve seen how social media is influential in shaping the way society thinks and the way we express ourselves. Don’t get me wrong; I believe it is important for us to voice our opinions and feelings on any platform we feel necessary, but at what point will be begin to take a step back and understand the gravity of our actions and how they affect others?
I’ve been brought to this question from a post an old classmate put on Facebook. In his post, he explained that while it was warming for people to express their condolences on a recent passing, it is wrong for the individuals close to the family to find out about a loved one on social media; it makes a great deal of sense. Social media is meant to portray the lives of people we know, be it someone very close to you or an old childhood friend. Living on the other side of the world for example has made it difficult for me to keep up with everyone; having Facebook and Instagram to see a new baby or a recent engagement allows me to be involved in their life story. But it takes on another level of expression when we run to social media to post a long status about the passing of a friend’s loved one or changing our profile pictures to the individual who has recently passed.
Facebook and Twitter can’t be the only place to pour our hearts out for the world to see. There is so much more to life than a continual expansion of our private emotions and moments that, while appreciated, can sometimes do more harm than good. Going back to what my classmate stated, why can’t we call our friend and give your condolences to their family? Have we “evolved” too much to stop doing simple gestures like sending flowers or a card to a loved one dealing with an unfortunate event in their lives? Social media has been successful from striping away the true human experience from us, and it’s frightening.
Support and love is a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be taken for granted, but I think it’s time we go back to touching each others hearts in the real world instead of touching the “Post” buttons on technology.
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