Not So Social Media (Part 1): On Meeting Friends

Posted: October 29, 2013 by Speed on the Beat in Real Talk
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s 2014, almost anyways. Do you know where your friends are?

-socially-awkward-penguin-wasnt-invited-anyway_20120416114305

Has social media created a generation of socially awkward penguins? Oh, the irony.

A better question. It’s 2014, almost anyways. Do you know how to make friends? I know that’s a damning question to ask. I can hear the pitchforks being sharpened now. I also hear the rumblings from the peanut gallery. “What? Does this Speed guy think I’m socially retarded? Eff him!” (RAGE!) But it’s one that’s serious and, while almost cliché to a fault, needs to be answered.

In talking to a friend today, he mentioned to me he’s deleting his Facebook as social media’s, to him, “a crime against humanity” worse than reality television. This is mostly because it keeps people from actually interacting with each other and, instead, trains them to focus on instant gratification and, to quote Drake, “worry about [their] followers.” Mind you, I’ve known this guy for almost eight years–longer than I’ve been on Facebook, Twitter, or even known as Speed on the Beat. So, when he talks, I usually listen, and vice versa.

And, well, it got me thinking. Even more so than usual, of course.

pokemon_twitter_by_polexis-d33fc05

Gotta Tweet ‘Em All!!!

I have over 1200 “friends” on Facebook. A decent portion of them I’ve met personally at UMD, City College, or elsewhere. Others, I’ve not met, but I have networked with through music, blogging, and so on. Hell, some of these “not met in person” friends have helped me out in things even more so than some people who I’ve met and known for years. Thus is the power of the internet–sometimes.

But, an alarming amount of my Facebook friends, I’ve realized, I couldn’t tell them apart from a hole in the head. I mean, if someone showed me a hole in the head and a random Facebook friend, I may just shrug and ask which one is my “friend” again?

Social media was, at one point, a way to network and actually create some sort of trail of people who you could use to better yourself.

Somewhere between The Facebook and Bitstrips that message/goal got lost, and it became less about actual networking and more about a Pokemon-like mentality. Was it because of teenagers young people and their need to feel validated in the world? No. Teenagers and the like will always do this sort of thing, social media or not. It’s just what make them who they are. With social media, the seeds of this Pokemon mentality were planted, in some ways, from the beginning. You join a network hoping to network. Through this hope, you find more and more people with similar interests and the like, and build your network. Soon, you find that your “friends” and your friends’ “friends” have interests. If you’re not careful, you’ve got a million friends, a trillion Farmville requests from 2009, and thirty-thousand Bitstrips per second flashing in your face.

But, maybe I’m finally showing my age. I’m in my mid-to-late 20s, which, in social media world, is older than George Burns. There are a portion of you that will look at that name and ask me who in the holy Big Krizzle am I talking about. That may be a problem.

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