Social media life complements real life

I have no doubt that used improperly (like anything) social media can be a real net negative in some people’s lives.  That said, I totally disagree with this Op-Ed arguing to post less good news on social media:

My kids have had some good news lately. Academic triumphs, hockey tournament wins, even a little college admissions excitement. They’ve had rough moments too, and bittersweet ones. There have been last games and disappointments and unwashed dishes galore. If you’re a friend, or even somebody who knows my mom and struck up a friendly conversation in line at the grocery store, I’d love to talk to you about any of it. I might even show you pictures.

But I’m not going to post them on social media. Because I tried that for a while, and I came to a simple conclusion about getting the reactions of friends, family and acquaintances via emojis and exclamations points rather than hugs and actual exclamations.

It’s no fun. And I don’t want to do it any more.

I get so many great interactions in-person precisely because I post a lot on FB.  Instead of a casual “how’s it going Steve?” to which I typically do not answer, “oh, good, Alex’s brain tumor is shrinking,” friends that I would not necessarily think to just share that with in a quick hall-way hello, say, “I saw about Alex’s shrinking tumor— that’s awesome!  Tell me more.”  Or, “wow, your soccer team is kicking butt– what’s the secret.”  Or, “I saw Evan’s science award– that’s awesome.”  And so many others.  And these lead to great conversations.  We end up talking about Evan’s love of science, or how David is doing at Wake Tech, or Alex’s health, or Sarah’s soccer team, etc.  And it’s great.  All because I post pictures, etc.  When I see a friend in the hallway at work and they say “how’s it going?” I don’t say, “great, Sarah had a really nice dance recital on Saturday.”  But, it’s awesome when that same friend says, “loved the photos at Sarah’s dance recital.”

I could go on.  But, the short version is that social media leads to me sharing so much more of my life than I otherwise would in most spontaneous interactions and that has absolutely enhanced my real-world relationships.

Oh, and I didn’t go to my Duke 25th reunion this weekend, but had a great time seeing a couple of Duke friends at brunch yesterday.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Social media life complements real life

  1. Nicole K. says:

    I agree with you about social media. I don’t post that often, but I like to share the big news that happens in my life. And it is more or less the only way that I keep up with my friends from prep school. My 20 year reunion is coming up, but I don’t think I am going to go. I was a different gender when I hung out with those guys, and I just don’t think it would be easy to pick up where we left off. So I will just stick to my occasional social media updates.

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