Social Media Limits our Social Lives

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Updated: Jun 23, 2022
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With the worldwide ability of internet and electronic technology, communication between citizens is no longer by writing letters but by using cell phones and sending emails. Especially for the younger generation, we are more willing to use the smart phone and all the social medias to communicate with each other since it can directly communicate or share information with the people all around the world just by looking at a small screen in our hands. Actually, all those useful social media such as Facebook, WeChat, and Instagram, shaped our attention and influenced our lifestyle a lot.

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The connection between the citizens in social networking is getting closer and closer. However, the connection between people in real life is getting far away from each other. In fact, all the social media shift our way of conversation from face-to-face to screen-to-screen.

The social media, such as Facebook provide a convenient way for people to create free accounts to make friends with other users, who live thousands of miles away from you. However, this convenient way of developing the relationship with people by using technology is not useful and will influence people’s attention to build up the real reliable relationship in their daily life. Social media is actually not acting like a bridge which connects all the users but it is acting like water that separates us into detached islands. In the article, “The Limits of Friendship”, Maria Konnikova illustrates that people’s attention is actually limited that we should use them into a correct ratio to interact and build up the relationship with other people. Also, in the other article, “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli”, written by Adam Gopnik, reveals the busyness situation in modern daily life generated by the digital communication. Social media platforms such us Facebook intrudes too much in our daily lives that deeply limit our ability to successfully interact with other people since the over abuse of the social media will occupy most of our time, consume people’s energy and attention, and let people be weary of face-to-face communication.

Social media platforms deeply limit our ability to successfully interact with other people since the digital communication technologies and all the social media apps that the majority of people will use in their daily lives can easily attract them to become addictive and will waste their time to build up the real relationship. Humans are now facing a huge challenge to our ability to manage our own time. Actually, it is really hard for people to actively control and make a time limit for using social media to communicate with other people. Texting with other people will never end since one text will easily come up with the other topic and then leads to another conversation.

For example, Gopnik states that: “E-mails end with a suggestion for a phone call, faxes with a request for an email, answering-machine messages with a request for a fax. All are devices of perpetually suspended communication”(6). Social media like Facebook has actually suspended communication and let users hard to end the conversation. When the users are using social media to communicate with their friends, it is very often to provide a information that relates to other topics. Then, they might have a chance to begin the other topic and continue chatting with each other to waste time. It is very easy to find the situation that there exist two people who have already chatted for three hours using Facebook and cell phone and can not remember why they start their communication. Email, smartphone, and all the social media apps seem like provide a convenient way to let users keep in touch with each other and make more friends.

However, the situation in reality shows us another story since the suspended of the communication made us hard to manage our own time. Every single person has a limit of time to use as the investment to build up our network with other people and interact with other people. Konnikova illustrates that: “Traditionally, it’s a sixty-forty split of attention: we spend sixty percent of our time with our core groups of fifty, fifteen, and five, and forty with the larger spheres”(4). Actually, we will spend the majority of our attention and time on core group to build up a close relationship. While we spend a small amount of attention on the larger spheres who are not that close to us. However, the social media such us Facebook intrudes too much in our daily lives that limit our ability to manage our time since we are all addicted to it and never ends to texting with one friend. In fact, this abnormal ratio of time management limits our ability to successfully interact with other people.

Social media platforms deeply limit our ability to successfully interact with other people since they consume people’s energy and attention, which lead to meaningless busyness. With the worldwide ability of the internet, people are getting more and more reliant on their smartphones. If all the users become addicted to social media platforms, this way of communication will definitely bring us meaningless busyness since it leads to the situation of no time to meet our close friends and builds the reliable relationship with them. For example, as Gopnik states the situation of bourgeois city manners did: “Constant, exhausting, no-time-to-meet-your-friends Charlie Ravioli-style busyness arrived as an affliction in modern life long after the other parts of bourgeois city manners did. ” Actually, Ravioli’s style of living becomes the majority’s lifestyle in the big city.

We are busy all the time and even have no time to meet our close friends who just need us to sit down in a corner of the street, have a cup of coffee together, and chat for a while. Social media consume our energy and intrude too much in the daily life that deeply limits us to build up a real reliable friendship with other proper. We were engulfed by the busyness, just like a little boat was engulfed by the waves. We can even hardly find ourselves. Gopnik’s exploration of the bad influence about the social media platforms that busyness will limit us to build up a reliable relationship with other people helps us better understand the argument in Konnikova’s essay.

For example, Konnikova states that: “ If we are busy putting in the effort, however minimal, to “like” and comment and interact with an ever-widening network, we have less time and capacity left for our closer groups.” Social media platforms provide us with a convenient way to make friends with users who live thousands of miles away from you just by clicking our mouse to see other people’s picture and personal information. This way of widening network will make people’s lives full of busyness and is actually meaningless social contact for us since it just promotes superficial relationships instead of profound ones. Moreover, we will have less energy left for our close friends who compose our meaningful social life. These lead to the situation like Ravioli’s style of business that we have no time to meet our friends since social media platforms consume people’s energy and attention to let us become busy all the time.

Social media platforms deeply limit our ability to successfully interact with other people since the busyness situation made us more willing to end up face-to-face communication in our daily life. However, face-to-face communication is acting like a key concept in our social contact. Under the pressure of busyness, we try to create a fence to protect ourselves, which can let us temporarily separate from this crazy busy world. Gopnik provides that: “The crowding of our space has been reinforced by a crowding of our time, and the only way to protect ourselves is to build structures of perpetual deferral: I’ll see you next week, let’s talk soon”(7). People are not willing to squeeze their time to meet old friends anymore since busyness makes us too tired to continue the social life. We afraid of the busyness and pressure from outside of the world.

Therefore, we always use the phrase like: see you next time or waiting for your message to protect ourselves to politely reject face-to-face communication. However, it is definitely not an advisable way to solve the problem since face-to-face communication can help us better communicate with other people and it is definitely an effective way to interact with other people. For example, Konnikova states that: “But without investing the face-to-face time, we lack deeper connections to them, and the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones. ” Face-to-face communication provides us with a chance to deeply interact with other people. It is incredibly important for people to build up their reliable and useful social lives. Screen-to-screen communication only promotes superficial relationships instead of profound ones. The lack of a deeper connection with our friends can not consider as a successful interaction with other people.

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Social Media Limits Our Social Lives. (2022, Jun 23). Retrieved from