Can social media kill friendships?

It is no secret that you need a good bit of media competence. Before smartphones and social media happened you had to wait until you read the newspaper in the morning to get confronted with the news – who won the soccer, who died, who was born, who ran around naked. Or, you got woken up from your radio alarm telling you that Lady Di had been killed. Stuff like that. And then, you went to school or work and discussed the news with your friends or co-workers. There was time to absorb it all and build an opinion or not.

Now, in most cases I like the option to get access to the news with my smartphones at all times, and I clearly value social media – basically to stay in touch with people who I do not see often or at all. I have noticed before that sometimes, it is too much for me. I feel like sometimes I overdose on news and input, and then I just switch the damn thing off.

There have been unspeakable things going on in Germany lately. Women have been molested by large groups of men, and many of them were refugees. This is bad, bad news, and those people need to be identified and punished – just like anyone who commits a crime.

And social media gives people the option to voice their opinion, which is a good thing per se. It changes my view on some people though, and I am not sure if this is good. People turn out to be patronising, right-wing and just in general extreme. Some people lay out their entire relationships on Facebook, some live out their mental problems, without seeing that it makes them more vulnerable too when they do it publicly. And I start to dislike some people who I even used to be friends with. And I am asking myself: does social media really reflect what people think? Would they not maybe think twice before they say certain things in public in real life?

Of course, everybody is entitled to their opinion, just like me. But social media has become a place where you can put yourself into a higher position. You can publicly diss people, their behaviour, their life-style. And it does hurt sometimes, even though you could just remove them from your news feed. Still, we seem to be drawn to them, waiting for their updates, just to get pissed off about them.

I have one “friend” who is a really nice person when you meet her, but her Facebook page just puts me off talking to her. Am I superficial? Is she? Is everybody? Should I really end a friendship because of Facebook updates?

The general comments on the refugee situation make me sick. They make me want to leave this country and live in the outback somewhere – preferably without internet connection. I am scared of my fellow citizens. What is the solution? Does it help if I voice my opinion? Does it help to ignore, to not broaden their platform? This is confusing and sickening!

Yours truly, madly, deeply!

Kerstin

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