You know what? I say this with the most diplomacy I can use to say it. There are so many people who criticise the use of Facebook and other social media platforms, claiming that we are wasting our time on these platforms and not building real relationships.
That “real” relationships are built in face to face interaction. And yes, this is true. Being able to read body language, hear nuances, feel emotions – this is all vital to human survival as well as personal well being.
But “real” relationships have been built for thousands of years via the use of pen and paper. How is this any different?
I have a new friend who lives right over the other side of the world. We “meet” here in FB land. We talk. We share. We encourage each other. We’ve never met face to face but I know that if I needed to chat with someone, she’d respond.
Isn’t that relationship? Isn’t that friendship?
And what about people who use social media platforms to reach out when they are not coping with every day life?
Can these critics honestly say that social cyber relationships are inferior or even bad? What will they say to a friend who reaches out on Facebook and says they are suffering with depression, anxiety, or even thoughts of suicide?
What will they say to that person who receives almost immediate responses from friends who help them privately and publicly through message replies and private messaging?
What will they say to that person’s family if that person was unable to reach out in this way and reach their friends who may be in other states, or even other countries, and the worst happens?
Sometimes I use digital platforms to share things that I can’t verbalise. Sometimes I share things because in doing so, I gain a deeper perspective of what I am dealing with.
So even though I agree that Facebook and other platforms can be used in destructive ways and waste hours and hours of time, it can also be used to SAVE LIVES!
And for that, I unashamedly support social media. For all my friends out in cyberland who struggle, I support you, even if I can’t reach you in another way. I hope you always use the various ways you can to reach out when you need it most and that myself and others will be there to help you work through that stuff.
If you hate cyberland and everything it represents, feel free to have your opinions and feel free to share them. But don’t feel free to tell me, or others, that they are wasting their time or that they are not building real relationships with others and not be prepared to hear the other side of the story.
Because of social media – because of the digital forum to share thoughts, ideas and information – a friend is still alive today.
If that’s all that cyber relationships are built for, then I think that’s a damn good reason to use them.
My words are strong today because I am an active and prolific user of social media and use it every day in my work and personal life. I have friends and family outside of cyberland and I am one of those blessed folk who can turn to them when in need, but not everyone else is. I just hope that we can all remember this the next time we think about bagging out the time spent on social media.