We have our normal life and our social media life. The two are usually separated from one another, but why? After reading Ford’s thoughts on society’s separation of social media and normal interactions, I contemplate my intermingling of the two.
I believe a strong correlation is found between my day-to-day life and social media life. When I think about the past few days and my conversations with people, trying to remember if we discussed social media is tough to recall, but I know for certain it was there. Just this week, one of my friends in class asked about my formal last weekend and complimented by dress because she saw pictures on Facebook. Last night I texted my friend and asked her what channel ‘Parent Trap’ was on because she snap chatted me a video of it knowing it is my favorite movie. If I see one of my friends doing something awesome, exciting or different on Instagram, like one of my friends just posted a photo of him skydiving, I asked him how the experience was and it provided an interesting conversation that I wouldn’t have had not knowing he went skydiving from social media.
It may be because I am just the type of person to say whatever I’m thinking without holding too much back, but I believe my social media usage is completely connected to my real life conversations. I’m not afraid to bring up an event or interesting thing I saw a friend or acquaintance doing on social media to hear the full story in person, that’s actually something I love doing because I learn more about the picture or status than simply from that post.
But, sometimes it is strange when people bring up seeing my social media posts and I DON’T KNOW WHY. For example, the last day of spring break before flying back up to UNC, I went swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida. It has been something on my bucket list and I had talked about it for months before to my friends. As a big fan of marine life, this opportunity to get face-to-face with a manatee in the wild and have the ability to pet him/her was an exciting one. The experience was unbelievable and I learned so much about the amazing endangered species by having the opportunity to swim in their natural habitat and play with these giant Coke machine size mammals. But, when I got back to school that night I was shocked at how many people asked me about my experience and wanted to hear more about it.
I do feel as though our lives on social media and reality are separated and sometimes when they intertwine it is unexpected, but really awesome. I loved telling my friends about my experience with the manatees and was genuinely happy to see the excitement and interest that they had because they knew how excited I was about swimming with the manatees.
Not only does a lot of my conversation begin from social media related topics, but I believe social media has changed how we talk. After reading an article on CNN titled, “9 ways Facebook has changed how we talk,” I can agree that many of our sociable and previously straightforward terms of friendship and fun have been twisted into a confusing alternative language of real life v. social media life for definitions. Some examples used are:
-Friend: prior to Facebook a ‘friend’ was simply a person close to you and one you spend time with, but after Facebook, ‘friend’ has changed from the sole responsibility of a noun to a controversial verb used to describe ‘friending’ someone on Facebook or ‘unfriending’ them if we don’t like them anymore.
-Status: Facebook has rejected the idea that status is only “a measure of someone’s social or professional standing” and replaced the definition and main usage to what someone was wanting to share on Facebook that day. Statuses range from political views to lunch location of the day to the announcement of an engagement.
-Likes: this Facebook feature has created a popularity contest in social media to see how popular shared content is. Discussion is everywhere about “how many likes ___ post got” or “I thought this post would get more likes than it did” and have established social hierarchy in the digital world.
The benefits and disadvantages of social media on our lives are, of course, highly controversial, but I think regardless it is present in our every day discussion. It is an interesting thought, because sometimes I arrive in class and sit by a friend and ask what they did this weekend, when I often already know. This is a complicated thing, because, like Ford said, we’re sometimes uncomfortable bringing up specific events in people’s lives that we see, even though they’re the ones who published the content. Whether you bring up social media before or after, social media is a component of everyday discussion and it is evident through our obsession of painting the perfect image of our lives on social media.