By Katlyn LaPorte
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 94 percent of United States teenagers use some form of social media and 71 percent use multiple forms of social media. Not following far behind, 78 percent of adult United States citizens use some form of social media as well.
Social media is a major aspect of today’s society and it ultimately becomes a huge factor in present day relationships. Social media can be positive in relationships, but it can also be overwhelmingly negative.
Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr are just a few of the most popular forms of social media today. In the past, couples wrote letters and sent them in the mail or waited around excitedly for their significant other to call them on their home phone. Nowadays people show their love and affection by posting “Woman Crush Wednesday’s” and “Man Crush Monday’s,” and also by posting, “In a Relationship” on Facebook.
I’ll admit I use social media just as much as every other teenager. I go along with the fads and post “Man Crush Mondays” and “Someone Special Sundays,” but I would hope that my boyfriend knows I love him whether or not I post Instagram pictures or Facebook updates.
There’s no doubt that it is a good feeling when your significant other posts about you on social media; but wouldn’t you rather have them say those kind things to you in person? I definitely know I would. Using social media to broadcast your relationship is, in my opinion, kind of a way to “mark your territory.” But it can also be a way to show off the person you love to everyone. You just have to know your boundaries.
When your relationship is all over social media, there is no doubt that everyone will be in your business; which, in high school especially, can cause problems. Many people nowadays don’t respect other people’s relationships, and also there are very many people who don’t even respect their own relationship.
Personally, I wish dating was still meeting someone and having to embarrassingly ask them out on a date, in person, and freaking out about it hoping they would say yes. Being born in the late 90’s my time for dating didn’t come until around 2013-2014, which by then chivalry and the real aspect of dating were long gone. Nowadays you don’t even need to know the person to determine if you like them or want to date them; one can simply get on Tindr, eHarmony, Match, and can’t forget Christian Mingle, and find their “soulmate” and “perfect match” right there. I don’t really think I would be able to find my future husband by swiping right on an app, but maybe that’s just me.
Aside from relationships, social media has its effects on friendships as well. I personally have 1,619 Facebook friends, 1,092 Instagram followers, and 572 Twitter followers and I know for a fact that no more than 20 of them would be there for me if I needed help changing a tire.
There is no question that social media is also convenient for locating, reconnecting, and rekindling relationships with family and friends that have been lost. How awesome is it that you haven’t seen your good friend for three years, but you still know everything (and I mean everything) going on in their life? As much as I do love being able to be so up to date with all 1,619 of my facebook friends, sometimes I really don’t want to see the dinner that their mom made them or their 7th gym selfie of the week. It’s known as a “friendship” but aren’t friendships supposed to have emotional connections? I don’t feel emotionally connected to a lot of my friends just by seeing their posts and what they are eating for lunch. I miss face to face contact and getting together to catch up. How influential can our online “friends” be in our lives if we aren’t even able to maintain real-life relationships with them? As much as I love and adore my closest friends I know it would be so hard to stay as close as we are if we weren’t able to see each other everyday and have that connection.
Are people really who they are on social media? Maybe some. But I know that I don’t post all my worries, anxieties and wishes on my social medias. I, like most everyone else, post the things that I want others to see. No one wants to come off as weak or insecure, so they use social media to become the best form of themself. So most of the time the people you think that you “know” personally from social media, you probably really don’t even know them at all.
Real life relationships and friendships take time and effort. They help us to not only learn about others but to ultimately learn a lot about ourselves. As great and powerful as social media is, really learning about ourselves and our surroundings is something that will never happen over social media.