“It goes down in the DM’s”
You’re addicted to your smart phone. I don’t blame you, because phones aren’t really phones anymore. They’re handheld computers that allow you to make voice calls when you can’t text, email, or FaceTime the person you’re trying to reach. They’re a crutch for when you don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to interact with people. It is a safety net you use when you’re surrounded by an unfamiliar crowd. Bored? Open up YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Periscope, Buzzfeed, or the latest game you’ve downloaded and immerse yourself. Forgetting your phone at home all day is a torture you would wish upon no one. Forgetting your charger leaves you in a slight state of panic all day. You better turn that brightness all the way down, close out every single app and keep all unnecessary usage to a minimum. Dropped it in the toilet? I bet you’re running to the nearest store to buy all the rice you can find. I hope you didn’t forget to pay your bill and now you’re shut off, because you’re not gonna be able to respond to the 2 text messages you received until your service has been restored. Your phone is not only your best friend, it is your lifeline and you can’t imagine what you would do without it. Not only are you provided with endless entertainment and up to date news at your leisure, you are also exposed to numerous platforms to interact with people whom you find interesting. Who needs Match.com when you have Twitter? Who needs BlackPeopleMeet.com when you have Tinder? Most social networking sites are free. There is no need for dating questionnaires or paying a monthly subscription fee. Your profile on the social media sites you engage in doubly serves as a dating platform, whether you want it to or not. Sure, you’re at family dinner but you just got a new match on Tinder and the chit-chat about your sister’s promotion can wait 90 seconds until you’ve responded to this new slice of opportunity that found his way into your inbox. You’re hooked and hopelessly attached to the internet.
The ironic part about social media is that while the premise was to connect people, it actually disconnects us from those close to us. Go to a restaurant and notice how many couples and family members sit at a table together, but are actually absent because they are too distracted by their phones. We often don’t think about how being so engrossed in technology can affect our familial relationships in addition to our romantic ones. When I’m with family, at times I notice how while we are all sitting in the same room, we aren’t spending time together. Two people are on their phones, the others are watching TV, someone is on the laptop and the kids are on tablets. Rewind 20 years to when I was a kid and I was outside climbing trees, riding bikes and playing made up games with my sisters. My parents did not allow us to sit in the house all day, eyes glued to a television. How do we disconnect our kids when they use the same technology at school? With the direction the world is going in, I doubt anyone knows the answer to that question. Fortunately, my family is so close that we are never too far away from each other, mentally or physically. For a family that is not so close, I can’t imagine how weak the bonds must be with phones building up even bigger walls. Am I the only one who is afraid at how minimal human interaction will become as technology continues to advance? It really has gotten so ridiculous that I will be carrying dual conversations with the same person on two different apps. Weird, I know. You can’t use the excuse of calling someone and never getting a call back because if it is truly urgent, you not only will call but you can choose to Facebook Message, Tweet, email or do anything short of sending out a smoke signal. There are literally no excuses these days. With all these modes of communication, how has this damaged our romantic relationships?
“It’s Just Twitter”
Does social media ruin relationships? Do guns kill people, or do people kill people? Instagram didn’t ruin your relationship. Your cheating boyfriend did. It’s not Twitter’s fault that your girlfriend responds to every man that slides into her DMs. If social networks sabotage healthy relationships, why were people breaking up in the 90s? The only influence social media has had on modern relationships is that now a person has more avenues to cheat if that’s what they want to do. Everyday we are exposed to attractive people online who seem intriguing in some way. You don’t even have to leave your house to meet someone new. Once you hit the add or follow button, you can tune in all day. We have evolved, folks. Gone are the days when you can only talk to your side piece at work or late at night. Nowadays, you can be lying in bed with bae while he’s Snapchatting Becky. That’s scary. On the flip side of that, it is also much easier to get caught up. How did women back in the day find out their man was living foul? The classic lipstick on the collar or phone number was found crumpled in his pocket. If the lady was really bold, she would call your house phone. Scorned side pieces don’t have to resort to that anymore. Screenshots have solved that problem. Cheating aside, lets address pure speculation. If you’re caught flirting on the timeline or if some suspicious person keeps leaving heart eyes under your significant others photos, what is our classic response? “It’s just ____ (Twitter, FB, IG, etc).” I’ve said that several times. Sure, I saw those people as harmless, but the person I was involved with clearly didn’t. Why are we so insecure when it comes to our significant others online interactions? I think it has to do with having to visually see our romantic interests flirt with other people. When they’re not with you, you don’t know who they are interacting with, so it can’t really hurt much. For an insecure person, refreshing their timeline and seeing 15 tweets between you and Mr. Random could ignite some fury. Be aware, there is a huge difference between setting boundaries for your relationship and dealing with a person who can’t control their jealousy. I remember years ago when I first made my Twitter; I had absolutely no idea what I was doing so I was barely on it. My boyfriend at the time found out and acted as if I had signed up to be an escort on Backpage. Serious red flag.If you’re dealing with an insecure person, they will always find a way to let their issues shine through. You can’t hide your true colors for long. It will spill over from trivial matters on Facebook to who you’re texting, where you’re going, and is your Pizza Hut contact really for pizza or is it actually Betty.
Addicted to Attention
While I do think it’s absurd to blame social media alone for ruining relationships, it does indeed play a part. It is apart of most of our daily lives so of course it would have an influence. Some people are so addicted to their online personas that they do not feel validated unless they have strangers telling them how good they look or co-signing their opinions. This reeks of insecurity. You can never love these types of people enough or give them enough reassurance to make them feel good about themselves. This type of insecurity just leads to the jealous behavior that I spoke of above. I don’t think we realize how damaging it can be to depend on the internet to reaffirm the way we feel about ourselves. Not only is this sad, it is very annoying to be around. I’ve met men who are so caught up in their timelines, snapchat, and Instagram that I felt like I was basically hanging out with myself. Every 5 minutes he was making snapchat videos. That was followed be a selfie. In between, his phone was constantly going off. All the while I’m thinking to myself, for someone to be so social, he sure is acting anti-social. When you are getting to know someone new, put your online interactions on hold. Not everything you think needs to be composed into a tweet. The vast majority of us are not Maya Angelou where our thoughts are so profound they must be immediately documented. The more you get to know someone, the easier it will be to tell if they are just the typical, engaged person, or if they are using social networks to boost themselves up. All you can do is take your time to peel back the potential layers of the person you are getting to know. Maybe the constant need for attention won’t bother you. Just be aware that a person who is an attention whore will most likely become your headache before it is all said and done.