Staying off the grid
On my second day of co-op, myself, my fellow co-op student and a couple of my staff peers settled down in the office for a run-down on some of the rules surrounding the office. Eventually the first question came: “Do you have a Twitter account?” Followed quickly by the second dreaded question “Do you have a Facebook account?” I was forced to give that same honest answer as for the first: nope. At which point, those gathered got the gist of things.
I proceeded to explain that all I lay claim to in terms of normal teen social media mumbo jumbo is a Gmail account. I don’t even own a cellphone. This was all greeted with gasps, whoops of delight, fist bumps and high-fives all around. Now, I am not new to this experience. It can be a feat explaining time and time again that I’m off the grid, but it’s rewarding to see that many people still appreciate my being... old-fashioned.
Still, it is a little exasperating for me when people at my school make comments like, “That is so weird; why aren’t you on Facebook?” or “Oh, have your parents not let you make an account?” as if it’s not a personal choice and as if I wouldn’t just make one anyways. Even odder are the people who say things like, “How admirable! I wish I could just let go of everything too!”
I tend to gape at this exclamation. It is comments like that one there – a very common one may I add – that reveal to me just how deeply our society has burrowed into the social media scene. I often have issues determining whether social media is a parasite on our society, or if we’re the parasite on social media.
I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of shaking your hands in front of the face of someone too sucked into a screen. And it makes you wonder, what has us so utterly dependent on social media? Is it a craving for human interaction somehow not gained with the action of being in the same room? Because, last time I checked, I isolate myself whenever I want a bit of me time on my laptop. It’s an interesting philosophical, if not the biggest question out there.
What can be said though, is that social media is a large part of what defines our society now, and… is that an issue? Again: who knows.
However, I can honestly say that it might be. I consider it one.