A False Sense of Connectivity Part One: How Social Media is Changing The Landscape of Connection
I had the fantastic opportunity to compete in this year's Young Global Awards on behalf of Pennsylvania State University; a process of human behavioral studies and creative advertisement based on the selected theme. This years theme was technological awareness and screentime. Despite it being an artistic and photographic task, the journey taught me a few things about the evolution of our society changes, and I'd like to share them with you. There will be three separate articles in this series.
In order to understand these changes, all you need to do is ask yourself one question: What is our understanding behind human connection?
In previous decades, the definition has been relatively straightforward; an emotional or physical bond transcribed through interest or circumstantial situations, typically with the motive of understanding. But in recent years as all generations are forced to adapt to the new wave of technology, does this definition change?
On the surface, it would appear that we are more connected than ever. We have the ability to speak, type, and visually interact with countries and cultures across the world in an endless span of creativity and language. Technology has become a translator for all things good and bad; washing newer generations with a wave of immense knowledge that can be equally rewarding and destructive. In this language we have also become addicted; a continuous circle of self and societal approval based on the status of our online abilities. Education has adapted to these needs; parenting styles have changed, how we approach relationships, the workplace, and overall lifestyle.
Despite all the changes, are we taking the time to grasp the consequences with our health? All age groups, especially children, are at risk from an array of variables. These variables are catalyzed from screen time; neurological development, social media influence, social isolation and depression. I am possibly one of the last generations to have a mix of both old-world developing technology and new-world. The thought is terrifying. The pictures you'll see throughout were created to demonstrate powerful images and designed to establish memorable notions to bring awareness to this growing and ignored issue.
We’ve started to adopt human connections through technology that has unforeseen consequences. No longer are we bound by social responsibility, limitations of fantasy or the evidence of emotional infidelity. This is also known as “social distance.” Suddenly, we’re given a sense of instant belonging. Behind the glass, the same emotional weight or impact doesn’t impede on our conscience. We can become more reckless, or the opposite, and feel a desperate unquenched thirst for true intimacy (Formica, 2010).
We reach for our phones in need of closure or answers; anonymously posting in between the lines instead of confronting an actual person to discuss with, and or, the person in conflict. We fall in love, quickly, almost swiftly. We are basking in the false realities of our mind based on the inauthentic and perfected world of social media. We leave out the psychiatric hurdles needed in an actual interaction; creating a false idea of connection and love (Griffiths, 2018).
Many of us are addicted to social media. We’re addicted to what we could have, and what we think we have. We believe in this connection because we get a glimpse in their life and world as if it’s a window to their mind.
The more we use our devices and social media, and utilize this connection, we also adopt a fear that we’re missing out on what’s happening. This is also commonly known as “FOMO” ‘fear of missing out.’ The constant anxiety with our connections, friendships, and influencers who appear to be moving at the speed of light (Griffiths, 2018).
Subjects: Sammie Forsey & Adler Hyatt
Written and Photographed by Sarah McKinnon.
Formica, Michael. (2010, October 18th). The False Face of Our Social Media Persona. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/enlightened-living/201010/the-false-face-our-social-media-persona.
Griffiths, Mark. (2018, May 7). Addicted to Social Media? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201805/addicted-social-media.
Przybylski, A.K., & Weinstein, N. (2012). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Retrieved from: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 1-10.