“I’m guilty too of being part of this machine… give people your love don’t give them your like!” – I believe that this is the most powerful statement by Gary Turk in his ‘Look Up’ video which has recently gone viral: a ‘life-changing’ film about the effects of social media on our society.
By connecting online, are we disconnecting offline? What are we missing from life as a result? What critical moments do we miss that we didn’t even know passed us by?
A few days shut off from the world in the Lake District this bank holiday have made me realise that I have created a habit; a daily routine which is to check into my virtual world on a regular basis. Due to the lack of signal in the Lakes I was unable to do that and as a result I craved to look at my phone and check my messages and social media platforms. After seeing this video, it has made me question why? Why did I feel as though I was missing something? What was I afraid of missing? Did I think people would wonder where I was? Why did I feel the need to tell people what I was doing?
Is it time to reassess our personal use of social media? Yes!
As someone who encourages and advocates the power of social media, I feel it is important that all users are aware of the pro’s and con’s of this world wide take over which can, and has, become a daily habit and life invader.
The invention of social media is an incredibly powerful tool for connecting people. However, it has also become a place of distraction, where people get lost amongst the mass of information and mindless chat and can lead to missed opportunities – taking away the real enjoyment in living for the moment. I am guilty of being somewhere and missing the extraordinary or really experiencing the ‘wow moment’, because I am seeing/experiencing the majority of it through a camera or phone… “let me take a selfie” and let me post a status.
I am not an advocate for a total social media switch off – but it is important that we have a balance and remember to enjoy the moments and live life!
I love the fact that I have an online diary of my life which allows me to document and prompt me to remember some of the incredible things I have experienced and there has been many times where I have looked back at my timeline and forgotten. However, I have recently taken a conscious decision to switch off a little. So, when I am out at an event, trip or just experiencing life, I have started to try to take just a couple of pictures and share just a few moments and sometimes I don’t share anything at all… and I am ok with that (now)!
Social media provides many positives. It is a powerful tool for positive change – sometimes ‘friends’ share quotes or powerful messages that they would never share when face to face but these regularly inspire me and encourage me daily.
The invention of social media has created a powerful tool to communicate quickly to the masses. Going viral can have a powerful impact on raising awareness and funds – for example Stephen’s story, where a teenage cancer patient has raised over £3m for charity in a couple of weeks.
Because the majority of people are now consumed in an online world, we have seen businesses turn to social media to advertise and interact and we have also seen the creation of ‘online communities’: sites where parents can share tips and advice, dating sites where people can meet their perfect match and other guidance on how to cook, clean and fix things… I often go to a social media or search engines when I need guidance, my most recent search being; ‘how to boil an egg and get a soft centre!’ – having ‘knowledge at my finger tips’ is much quicker than phoning a number of friends or family who may not know the answer!
However, when it comes to emotions, illness and life battles (all of which I have recently experienced); I am extremely grateful that sometime I can, and I do, switch off from the online world. I have an incredible family and close group of friends who; stand by me, advise me, laugh with me, laugh at me, share their stories and look me in the eye and say ‘it’s going to be ok!’… this to me is much more powerful than any like or comment… this is showing real love!
Is it time that we reassess our use of social media and make sure we live life, talk eye to eye and as Gary Turk says ‘give people our love… not just our like!’