The transformation of technology over the past decade is shocking, almost scary. The creation social media over the past years has made connecting so appealing to us creating an addiction to it. Can we see correlations to this and the effects of many illegal street drugs?
It has certainly changed many aspects of public relations in all areas of society by morphing us into narcissist’s beings. The never-ending search for more social influence hardened our empathetic hearts. One would say narcissist’s focus on themselves and therefore achieve more; however, just like any system if everybody is steering in different directions the common goal of society will not go anywhere and therefore destroy the system.
This growing idea of individualism is leading to people striding to be known and have connections. A Palms Hotel in Las Vegas is providing perks to guests with high Klout scores. It is becoming a world where it is more important who you know than what you know. One can associate this addiction to the desire to build a personal brand by building a strong online presence. Creating a world were anxiety and insecurity come into play when one is disconnected from social media because of lack of influence. Social influence is going to become so important that people will pay to have higher influence scores.
Social media has definitely turned us into narcissists. It has also changed the meaning of friendship, as we know it. Therefore the term ‘friendship’ must be redefined. A drug addict will associate with other drug users to get high, nothing more. Is a Facebook or Twitter friend just someone you use to get your social influence fix? Is it a person that you use for connections, information, even reputation? Hal Niedzviecki tells a story about his realization of the meaning of a Facebook friend. We all know that a Facebook event is the most unreliable way of knowing that a person will truly attend a party. To extend from that we all know when it is your birthday or someone else’s birthday, one does not congratulate everyone on their list or the other way around. This is not a bad thing; it just means that a social friend serves a different function the traditional meaning. In today’s world one picks and ends friendships based on personal interests, just like a drug user calls their dealer in search of their fix.
Social media has changed the way we see friendships because of the stride to be influential and therefore individualistic. It has also changed the dating world in both good and bad ways. A survey suggests that 80% of women and 58% of men believe social media tools leads to faster sex. It creates a sense of intimacy and the anticipation for that next text message paves the way to the bedroom faster. New GPS Dating Application leads to more hook ups by letting people know whose close to them that share their interests. However it also breaks up relationships faster by making an affair easier by texting and private messaging. In Toronto and Montreal 80% of couples grab their mobile device rather than their partners hand first thing in the morning; creating this their new priority. In this case the social attention from being constantly texted by another person creates that addiction.
Social media has many pros, it has helped connected us like no other. However the never-ending search to have a high social influence has turned us into radical narcissists and that should be given a break. Social media is connecting us but tearing us apart in the same way, should this be a controlled substance just like cocaine or heroine?
By Edwin Infante