Business Magazine

The Dark Side of Social Media

By 2centsricher

The Dark Side of Social Media

I love social media. I love it for the way it has changed the way we produce, consume and share information. As a Business School graduate, I love it for the impact it has on the way we do business and how brands interact with their consumers. I love social media for the opportunities that it opens and the relationships that can be made. Overall, social media is great. What’s not to like?

Well, I think social media does have a dark side. Just like many other social media junkies out there, I have been scrutinized by my heavy social media usage. I have annoyed those around me by constantly checking my phone. I never really saw what the big deal was as I remained as engaged with those that I care about in the “offline world” as I did with my online endeavours (or so I thought). And then, with one single interaction, it hit me.

Last weekend I went to my local burrito joint to get some lunch to go. I went in, ordered my usual and stepped aside waiting for my order to be ready. As I usually do, I flipped my phone out and did “the works” – checked into Foursquare (I am the mayor of the place after all), I checked Twitter to make sure I hadn’t miss any crucial tweets during the time it took me to get from home to the restaurant and I looked for updates in my ongoing “Words with Friends” games.

When my order was ready I took my eyes off my phone and lifted my head. As I was picking up my bag, I saw that there was a guy next to me looking at the menu with a confused look. Who knows how long he had been standing there. As I turn to him, he turned and made his order. I went back home reflecting on this interaction, or lack of. If I had not been fixated on my phone, maybe I could have given him a suggestion from one of my favorite items on the menu in order to make his decision process a little easier (as I said before, I am the Mayor so I know my way around the menu). After all, we all trust and seek peer-reviews before making a purchase…don’t we? Maybe I could have started conversation with him. Maybe he was new in town. Maybe we were destined to become life-long friends. Maybe we could have gone into business together. Or maybe I could have done my good deed of the day and helped a stranger pick his lunch. But I didn’t. I missed that chance.

I am not going to sit here and demonize social media and say that it is killing social interaction. After all, as I said before, I think it is fantastic and it will keep growing and we will continue to evolve with it as a society. However, I think that this came to me as a reminder that it is important to take a break and truly enjoy the things and people around us. As impossible as it may seem to some, we might actually be missing some things because we are too busy tweeting about them. So, if you are reading this on your phone, first, thanks and second, stop. Look around you. Smile. Enjoy the world! It is in 3D (the kind of 3D you don’t need special glasses for).

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