I watched the Look Up video recently and have seen it quickly go viral all over the internet, the irony of which is not lost on me….
The fact that the video was created for the internet makes it nothing more than a cog, taking full advantage of the machine of which it is a part of. The video is just a highly romanticised concept, practically begging to be shared across the social networks. It isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know and I have seen similar such videos saying the same things.
Preaching at people that we should be less reclusive and reserved is all very well and good, but not all of us are naturally outgoing. It is ok to be introverted; it is ok to be shy. It is ok to be whoever you are. Technology at its core is about making life better for people, finding solutions and improvements to whatever you need and social media is about connecting people in different ways which is a good thing.
I agree that sometimes we can be too connected to our phones and in a social setting it can be that everyone is on their mobile phones or on the internet; socialising with others yet ignoring the people around them.
But there is another side to the story. (At this point I must mention that Big Fashionista has spoken about this subject in Look Down and you should definitely read it!).
For some, social media isn’t just a form of entertainment. It isn’t just about playing Farmville or seeing how many likes you can get on your Facebook status. It isn’t just about Lolcats or sharing your day on Twitter.
For some, it is an escape route. For some it is a place where they can find a community of people that they don’t have in their offline life. For some it is the place to go searching for answers when none can be found. For some it gives you a voice where you had none. For some, what you find on the internet ends up enriching all aspects of your life, both online and off.
Many of those reasons I can apply to myself. I can pinpoint the exact point that my life started to turn around for the better. I joined Twitter. The small voice that I had, it got louder. My opinions got stronger. I found people like me, who think the way I do, who have experienced what I have.
I know a network of people online that I could never have found offline. A group of bloggers who are based all over the country who get exactly who I am. They understand the way I think, why I think it and have lived similar lives. This couldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the internet.
My offline life has been enhanced by the time I spend online and I have met some amazing people, some whom I have met face to face, others who I am yet to meet but feel like I know well.
The beauty of the internet and social media is that you can get out of it as much, or as little as you want. It is a resource. Yes we should probably spend more time off our phones when in company and should ring our friends more than we should text, but the benefits of social media are vast and shouldn’t be discounted or discouraged.