I sometimes wonder which effect social media will have on our society on the long run. It seems as though these networks which are supposed to connect more people with each other actually create loneliness.
How come I reach to this conclusion? Simple: I have seen how a lot of people react on what they see on their social networks! They have a very conflicting relation to them: they cannot seem to get enough of them and open them again and again but at the same time, they again and again close them with a bad feeling. This bad feeling comes from what they have seen: pictures of their friends, partying, having a good time and generally enjoying their lives. In family, with other friends, among people.
And you? You are sitting there alone, staring at your phone, tablet or computer screen. You are not part of the fun. The party is taking place without you. You don't have that perfect partner who surprises you with a candlelight dinner, just like a friend had posted. You don't go to hip parties where everyone is having a blast. And you also seem to be far away from all of your friends who post this.
Your social network, designed to connect you with people, just gave you the feeling of being completely on your own, alone and lonely. Without it, you wouldn't even have known about all the fun you are missing. You might have just been happy while reading a book at home or taking a bath.
Or, instead of staring at a screen, trying to think of something clever to write yourself or trying to find a picture of you having fun, too, you would actually go out. You would call a friend and talk to him or her in person instead of nearly stalking the other one online in order to see how much fun he or she has!
That is how social media can make you experience loneliness in a way that was not possible before the internet, before you were reachable at all times and before you were connected with all your school and university friends, colleagues from work and relatives at the same time.
You will notice this at the latest when you are in a bad situation and need help. When you have been in touch with people via messages but hardly ever met in person. Because when the world is crashing down on you, you need a real hug, not a virtual one. A real shoulder to cry on. Someone to come by and listen, someone to be there for you in real life.
Never forget that social networks are only a tool, something to enhance the real experience but not a substitute to replace it. Let it bring more joy to your social life instead of pulling you down!