Response to Marc Maron’s “The Social Media Generation Animated”

It is video’s like this that make me thankful for the various talents God gives us in the world. Despite the fact that this video is animated, it still provides a chilling, and down-right disturbing view of the affect social media has on today’s society, especially the younger generations. There are plenty of things that social media has done well, and connecting people is one of them. However, there has also been a huge disconnect somewhere along the line. The majority of those who use facebook and twitter don’t understand privacy, and, what’s more, they become dependent on these mediums to feel desired, loved, acknowledged–just like the young boy in the video who threw a “tantrum.” Users do not realize they need these mediums so desperately, but take away the average person’s phone for an hour and see how well they fare. Younger generations taunt the older, focusing on the fact that they “don’t even know how to use a computer.” Not knowing how to use the forever developing technology of our world can be a major drawback, but older generations also value many different things and seem wiser than the younger, and not just because of their age. Social media has become a drug, so much so that people waste hours on it, and post things that are often not of much importance. And this causes people to value these mediums and the things these mediums give them more than meaningful things. Two examples I can think of right away are in-person connection and validation of physical appearance. As the “friends” ticker climbs, one has to question what does the word “friend,” even mean? And, if there is a definition…then how many facebook friends are even true friends? And yet, the friendships held over the internet are often the ones pursued most, and a person now more often gets on facebook to connect with someone than picking up the phone and ringing them. There are advantages and good sides to this–distance makes connecting in person hard, in some cases. But in-person relationships are seemingly not valued as much as they used to be.

Now, on to the validation of physical appearance: Instagram. Selfies. “Duck faces.” I don’t have to go much further for you to have a visual in your head. And many people post photos of this kind all the time, and each compliment or “like” fuels their confidence. But is this helping or hurting the fight against the unrealistic standards of beauty media and popular culture has set for us? If you have to get your validation from other people…what are you doing to do when they aren’t around, or are all gone? True beauty comes within, and, taking my favourite quote from the 2013 movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” Truly beautiful people, places, things, and phenomena have never paused and said, “Hey, look at me!” In fact, the quiet, careful ways of truly beautiful people is what draws others to them. What’s more, posting these photos and encouraging this could (and will) lead to vanity, and again, valuing a physical beauty over true inner beauty.
A final point that I forgot to mention, but I think adds to the idea of abusing social media is a line from a song by Gavin DeGraw that keeps playing in my head: “I look at out the crowd and they’re all on their phones.”

If you stand on the campus of my college and look around, 99% of every person is walking, while looking down at their phones. When the word “zombies” comes up in conversation, The Walking Dead often comes up. Gruesome, wild, chaotic, mindless creatures that drag their way along and scrounge around for their next meal, going insane when they come upon it. That is all and well, but I think the real zombies in today’s age have phones in their hands.
There is a serious addiction being developed, and it can be just as serious as any substance if it is not helped.

If facebook, twitter, and other social media are the techo-parents of today’s generations, then people everywhere need to stand up against the abuse.

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