By Eve Marx
There’s been a lot of buzz about the destructive powers of social media and it being a threat to civilization. Social media can wreak havoc. If you don’t believe me, just follow the tweets of any Fox News anchor or Bret Easton Ellis. Facebook, which for years seemed so benign, has been targeted as a scourge and the ultimate time waster. But with social media so ingrained into my daily life (I need those Real Housewife updates and checking to see who’s retweeted me), I do wonder how badly social media is hurting me. Is it as deleterious to my health as, say, heroin, or is it just nasty, like a cupcake addiction?
A friend allowed her own social media habits have made her lazy. Hours frittered away on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have resulted in a laundry pile up. She no longer finishes books and excercises less than she used to. I get it. Entire mornings have vaporized for me, spent trolling entertainment sites to see who wore what on the red carpet.
Social media is so huge it has its own hashtag. Bashing social media is now a popular pastime. One powerful social media site rhetorically asked if our on-line habits are turning adults into tweens. Duh! My own I.Q. has circled the drain as my communication skills devolve to the point where my go-to words are “omg,” “tmi,” “brb,” and “lol,” for everything. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve mastered reducing all my thoughts into 140 characters. But has it ruined me, or, more importantly, civilization? Let’s investigate.
Getting news via social media means I watch less TV. On the surface, this sounds good, right? Less time watching the antics of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” but also less time with intelligent programming, like CNN. Does following Perez Hilton on Twitter count as news information?
Thanks to social media, instead of phoning, I’d rather text or FB inbox. OK, but does it matter? Besides your old Aunt Betty, who talks on the phone?
Is there any point discussing an important topic when you can send a link? It’s so much easier to let someone else sell your position on say, gun control, for you, isn’t it? Plus you’re spared the drudgery of research.
If I find three articles to support my political leanings, that means I’m right, right? And the Huffington Post is the ultimate authority on almost anything. Right?
Social media promotes hypochondria. Addicted to webmd.com and mayoclinic.com? Shhh, me, too. Those gruesome close ups of eczema, rosacea, and the heartbreak of psoriasis? I’m riveted. When you’ve got the web, who needs a dermatologist?
Thanks to social media, I’m a recluse. Once upon a time I took the train into the city. I went to museums. I went to galleries. Now I go nowhere and just tool around the web. Oh, btw, my rear end is also fatter. The upside is thanks to social media I know having a big behind is good because every woman wants to look like the Kardashians who sport their “donkey booty.”
I used to look things up; now I Google. Name one person who uses the library or even a dictionary anymore. Is Wikipedia a reliable source? Hmm.
Social media can lead to becoming extremely judgmental. Social media all have a feature telling you what your friends are reading/sharing/viewing.. Now you know all your friends’ louche secrets. How can that be good?
I used to have friends. Now my friends are all virtual. It’s comforting when you post you have the flu and a dozen friendly folk post right back, “Aw, feel better!” But will they knock on your door and deliver chicken soup? Not really.
Social media undercuts, even trumps, my most intimate moments. The true definition of intercourse includes conversation, a back and forth, a sharing. Experts say having TV in the bedroom spoils intimacy. Now bring your tablet or iPhone into bed and watch what happens. My guess is that unless you’re watching Andy Cohen Live and tweeting him, nothing.
Eve Marx is a sex and relationship expert, journalist, and author. Her most recent novel is BEDDINGTON PLACE: Watch Your Back, Cover Your Tracks, is available on Amazon.com in print and Kindle versions.