There are a ridiculous amount of social media applications and platforms available today. I remember the days when all I had to worry about on the Internet was making sure I poked my friend back on Facebook, but now I am bothered by constant notifications and having to accepting new followers on Instagram and other networks. I love using social media to check up on my favorite businesses and read up on sporting news updates, but I have to say the advent of social media has made the world much less social. I know that this is old news, and that everybody has now become accustomed to the idea of seeing the faces of others others buried in their phones and tablets, but I actually have fond memories of a time before all of this existed. As a child I was somewhat shy and introverted, but I grew into a fairly outgoing adult with a mastery of the art of communication, only to find that I now live in a world where communication has changed. Social media conversation is very different from face to face conversation, because subtleties such as sarcasm and body language are completely non existent over the web. Social media has basically changed how communication is done, and in the process created a generation of socially awkward young adults. I have had situations in which I have run into social media friends in real life and they treated me like a stranger, the odd part is that I have known these individuals before social media and held extended online conversations with them. I honestly can’t say what the future holds for social media or even real life social interaction, but I do know that people need to get back to some sort of interpersonal interaction or the future will be a very strange place.
What ever happened to the news? There was a time when you would tune into a local or cable network and be informed about what was going on in your world. Today the news has regressed into a cesspool of pop culture topics and irrelevant “scientific” studies. It is sad to see how much the news has changed within the last 20 years. In the past, different newscasts covered different topics, and it was basically up to the viewer to decide what they wanted to hear. Today you would be hard pressed to find more than one unique story across all local news broadcasts. Television news seems to be going the way of print news, with the advent of smartphones the news is now closer than ever. Social media platforms, along with the Internet, deliver news to consumers at break neck speeds. Since television news could not compete with first hand, up to the minute news, they have shifted to more fluff based reporting. While the news is a business, it seems the producers have lost touch with their major demographic. Television news producers need to focus on keeping their current viewer base of baby boomers and elderly folks, instead of trying to compete with the Internet. Social media should be used to connect with the Millennials they so desperately want watching, by fully involving them in the conversation. This year looks to be a transitional year for television, with many people fed up with programing and too busy to sit down for a show, the Internet is quickly becoming the only place to consume media. Rather than trying to compete with it or emulate it Television networks as a whole need to embrace the change and make the transition to net based viewership.
It’s good to get unplugged from time to time, and by that I mean pulling yourself away from television and the Internet, especially social media. The amount of personal growth you can go through when you take time to read and do other non digital tasks is amazing. Over this weekend I had a chance to do just that, and I am thankful I had the opportunity. Unplugging yourself gives you the chance to legitimately think about things that matter, things that matter to you. When you are constantly bombarded by external stimuli from television and social media you are actually becoming less sociable. Think about it, sure you will be able to talk about that last episode of a drama or that news story but you will have nothing to say about yourself. I would like to challenge a reader to take the time to unplug yourself for a weekend, and do something you usually would not do. You may find out you like it and end up enriching your life beyond expectation.