How Disconnected Are Millennials From Reality?

Social media.

Did that ring any bell? It sure did.

When the internet became indispensable, we had people who complained that there would be serious problems, notwithstanding the advantages of having a connected world without actually being physically present.

Then came social media.

The complaints became intense only after a short while of social media existence. The complaints centred on how social media networking was going to destroy physical relationships and how people will only begin to fantasise the real world. Well…they were invariably right.

Social Media, Information Sharing and Networking

We cannot argue how social media platforms have been almost perfect conduits for information; even how they connect lost friends, family and help build networks. These days, you can do business online without ever seeing the person but have a connection on social media.

We have powerful platforms, like LinkedIn that has built more business relationships than you can imagine. People get jobs on there, meet investors, build personal relationships, build companies from partnerships. It’s a lot going on there. There are other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, etc. All great platforms with millions of monthly active users, trying to connect to a world – to people in faraway countries and do anything possible with those people. Yet, it is evident that we have lost our sense of the real world.

An Average Millennial’s Mind (Not forgetting IG and Whatsapp)

Is Social Media Taking the Place of Real Life?

These days, millennials say all sorts of things on social media, forgetting that there is a space outside of those social media platforms. Imagine the fading ability to build friendships because there is a belief that e-friends are more valuable. We can pour out all our worries on social media – more especially WhatsApp statuses – but cannot say the same things to our friends. Some people call it ‘fear of the unknown’. Others call it distrust. You don’t trust your friend to empathise with you and do something about it, but we can trust e-friends to help us solve the problem(s).

Millennials no longer say ‘I love you’, to a physical friend or family because they believe they will receive backlash. Millennials could sit behind their phones and spew trash because they believe they cannot be traced. Millennials will rather listen to the opinion of a random Instagram user who says their outfit is perfect for an occasion than a roommate who says it could be better. Millennials will listen to the ‘top-class’ business advice of a budding LinkedIn motivational speaker than a friend who is invariably experienced in the same field.

It is a whole new world on social media and, the boldness to say, in real life, the things we say on social media is almost absent. Indeed, social media platforms have become the centre of our lives.

Thank the Lord in the high Heavens that millennials still value hangouts but what do they do when they go out together? – I usually take pictures of young people supposedly hanging out together but with eyes on their phones. At these times, chatting with their e-friends seems more valuable than talking with the people they went out with. The other thing is to have pictures to show the other world. It’s repeated songs of ‘please take nice pictures I would post on Instagram and WhatsApp status’ and ‘let me just reply to this person’s message’.  Millennials can do that for the whole day.

A group of young adults “hanging out”

There is no value to anything in the real world anymore. If it’s not from social media, not connected to social media or does not have social media influence, then it’s not valuable. In fact, it does not make sense.

It all sounds strange – some of the things mentioned here because we have become addictive and hardly know it. But know that obsession with social media creates a sense of fear that grows into something bigger. Social media controls actions and thoughts and you might not even know this.

Social Media Use and High Suicide Rates

We hear people saying the first thing they do in the morning is to open their phones to check what’s happening on Twitter or who has posted what on Instagram. Whatever happened to connecting with the physical beings first? – like exchanging greetings before any other thing.

Suicide rates have increased because people now believe everything social media tells them. Friends no longer TALK to friends, and so, they assume that their supposed friends are fine. People now have more respect for fleeting friends than long-time loyal friends. More reason we see the word ‘haters’ thrown around – anyhow.

Now What?

Sometimes, switch off your phone and talk to the person next to you

If only we could marry the use of social media and the reality of a world outside of social media, then we would harness the full strength of both worlds. There is really no gain fading out one for the other.

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