The anti-social behaviour derived from social media

October 29, 2014 4:30 pm

London is a city of ghosts. Texting ghosts, eyes downcast on a thwarted social media reality. Facebook friends, tweet me this tweet me that, link me up for that job of a lifetime opportunity, all the while walking past me. Come rain or shine, their mobile phones clutched tightly in an unforgiving grasp, as they collide with strangers, no stranger than those with whom they share their most intimate thoughts, their secrets, their undignified selves. And I wonder, as I fear, as I dread, that I shall never connect again. Has social media ingrained itself so deeply inside our lives, that touch has become impertinent, non-consequential in a life of friends measured by sunny photos, by numbers or by likes?

social media anti socialSharing has been marginalised to the latest post, not by mutual experience, but by boasting, by comparison. Happiness is measurable by the daunting reflection of ‘selfies’, yet who was there to witness your pout? There is no expression in empty eyes, posing for a life wanting of years passed.

Just look up! Look up! We are all here. Walking shadows, existing, surviving. Social media, the outlet for introverts, the expression of extroverts, all pining for a real hello. All denying themselves that true association with the game called life, all running so slowly, stuck.

Modern day, post apocalyptic, the new Internet age, where everything is possible. Your newsfeed, your status, your ever-insta-moment – shared with the world, a world that is blind, a world that is as disconnected as you. You. The one with your device of courage. The appendage that masks the insecurity, the detriment, the ever needing urge to write about it… without saying anything at all.  Ask yourself, what are you saying? What do you want to say? What do you want the persona hiding behind the screen to answer? Are you looking for a response, or is silence good enough?

What of conversation? Or an actual kiss? Of the smell of bodies entwined in real time? A cryptic post cannot compare to the shoulder that absorbs tears, so lean, lean against life as it will not always be there.

Look up. Look up, there is light beyond the screen. There are words to be heard not only read. And love, oh what of love? Or laugher, not “lol” but heart-wrenching, stomach churning, soul aching laughter! The sound that rings not only in your ears, but in your abounding self, as you forget that you are anything but this sound, this reverberation through your gut and up your throat.

Laugh, laugh, look up as you do. There may be someone laughing with you. But mere expressions of laugher, buried in the sublime cannot do, will not do, not in this world wide web of disentanglement, weaved by a corporate spider, that sits back, with code for company. Billions earned at your socially awkward expense.

I say it is time to look up. To lead, not to follow. To laugh out loud, not to ‘lol’. To disrobe of your avatar and delete your name from all those tags.

Kids obsessed with their computers rather than socialising with each other.

Kids obsessed with their computers rather than socialising with each other.

Stop posting that picture of your breakfast and instead share a meal with a friend. Drink some wine, get drunk if you must, but please don’t tweet about your god forsaken hangover. And stop for one moment to reflect on those pictures posted by virtual friends, where you skirt is hitched so high up it reveals your bum, as you make the infamous duck face, with a stranger sipping tequila shots off your chest! There is a thing called regret.

And while you want to project an image of unending happiness and the carvings of a perfect life, as you stumble through failed relationships, lewd behaviour and finally clinch the guy of a lifetime and get married… don’t post it all online. Refrain from sharing your babies’ first steps… nobody cares as much as you do that your little angel lost her first tooth and that you forgot to summon the toothfairy, because you were too busy trying to pass the frustrating level on Candy Crush and stalking ex lovers’ new exploits. Some things, some pictures are best enjoyed alone.

It is more than bewildering that the new generation are more apt at using a smart phone than learning to ride a bike. What is more shocking is that children, not yet by law able to earn a living, sit in restaurants playing with the latest ipad, as their parents ignore them, they themselves engrossed in their phones. Information technology refers to a new age connection, whereas all I can construe from this image is one of total human isolation, of disconnection, of relationships not just fraying at the seams, but coming completely undone.

So look up from whatever it is that has you so transfixed, for it cannot possibly compare to the great outdoors, or to a person’s face that creases into a smile as you tell them a joke, one you no doubt read online. No text message can replace the real sound of ‘I miss you’ and eyes cannot lie as voices often do.  Look up. Look about. We are all here, closer than social media would have us believe.

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  • Ant French

    Great article, I really connected with it! My personal pet hate is seeing a mother pushing a pushchair and completely ignoring her child, instead preferring to use her smartphone…or couples that sit in restaurants quite clearly on a date but seemingly engrossed in texting.

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