Death Of Social Skills By Social Media
Arguing The Adverse Effects Of Social Media On The Way Millennials Communicate
To live a meaningful life is to connect with others. Social media is an unprecedented tool offering a myriad of platforms where we may engage in instantaneous communication with a single individual or millions of people. For my generation, however, this evolving dependence on social media as a primary means of ‘relating’ with and to others has a flip side emerging of notable consequence. The measurable decline in the pursuit and development of actual personal relationships has impaired our ability to interact face to face and significantly diminished our social skills.
Replaced by cyber-relationships connected to thousands, people are seemingly oblivious to the those around them. For most, a phone screen is the last thing we see before falling asleep and the first thing we reach for upon awakening. This compact, lifestyle-support system is attached to us 24/7 and this sadly includes meal time and yes, dare we admit, even in the bathroom(ugh). The irony is that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. are promoted as platforms to actually improve our communication with others, yet the exact opposite is true.
Reared from birth to be reliant on technology, we are losing the skills to hold a conversation, make eye contact and, heaven forbid, shake hands. While in public with ear buds in place, we often intentionally contrive preoccupation using our phones as the means to avoid actual personal interaction. Let’s face it, this scene is being played out not only on the streets, but at the dinner table, schools, in the office, at parties and even on dates. Who needs real friends when we have iFriends? The answer I am coming to discover is apparently WE do.
We are consumed with trying to impress our ‘followers’ by sharing senseless media posts and evaluating our self-worth by how many ‘likes’ we get rather than actually experiencing meaningful relationships. Compelled to share every single minute of our lives with the virtual world i.e. what we ate for lunch, how our name was spelled on our Starbucks’ cup, and writing ‘just went to the gym,’ is how we choose to interact. Really? In a world so connected, we are more isolated than ever. Keeping score by how many faceless clicks we receive rather than achieving anything of value is far more the reality.
This begs the question…. What would be so difficult in making little efforts every day to begin affecting change? It is important that we recognize that the interviewer for our next job will be evaluating our social skills (or lack thereof) and that our networking habits can and do have impact and consequence. Cultivating interpersonal interaction could start by simply:
- Initiate conversation with a check-out person, parking attendant, neighbor, or whomever we encounter in our daily lives
- Set reasonable/realistic limits on social media and invest in more time with friends and family
Engaging more by seeking one on one connections, even just briefly daily, will likely positively impact our ability to communicate and succeed. Perhaps a challenge for some more than others, it will take a conscious effort by all to reduce our digital obsession and make personal contact a priority.
Working to build a real versus virtual life, seeking experiences over meaningless interaction with strangers really resonates with me. I am hopeful it will for you too.
About the Author – Madison DeCamillis
Madison DeCamillis is a 22 year old UF alumna with a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications: Media and Society, specializing in both English and Spanish. She is an advocate for creative living, which she expresses through her writing and art. Madison is inspired by her travels around the world, surfing and yoga, as well as leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle to inspire others.
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