You go out for coffee with a friend. It’s been a long week and you could both use a nice talk and a good cup of caffeine. You’ve ordered your coffees, found a cozy table in the back corner that’s private so you can really talk, but there’s no talking – only tapping of fingers against cellphone screens. We’re all very much aware of this reality, but is it a good thing?
Our idea of community and communication has changed significantly during the past decade. We have become engulfed by the idea of which social media group we’ve decided to involve ourselves the most with rather than the physicality of the group. To an extent, this is an extreme idea, but one that is commonly shared. When do we draw the line between what’s cyber and what’s real? It’s a difficult topic to confront since so many people consider their lives on social media to be intertwined with their daily life. It’s just a reflection of their everyday activities, right? Well, this is half-true. While it may be a mirror of their life, it is also only a snippet of what they want you to see. Think of it as historical fiction with a modern-day twist and there’s social media community for you.
While, for the most part, social media is a place to expand on your political ideas, relationships, basic activities, etc. there are some drawbacks to extending so much of yourself to social media sites. For some, parts of their lives that they had wished to keep hidden are being exposed. And for others, mentioned in an article in Huffington Post, social media is exposing the aspects of their lives that they aren’t even aware of.
While most cultures are embracing the social media reign, some are pushing it into a corner, daring it to move. China would be one of them. Instead of hoping on the social media bandwagon, they’ve gone to restricting the usage of certain sites as well as the amount of time spent on sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. While this is taking it to the extreme, it does make you wonder how much we’re willing to let out into the public before we pull back. We’re treading a thin line between expression and complete disclosure of our lives. It will be interesting to see how far is too far for such an open generation.