Social Media is not anti-social

Today’s phone-in on BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours” programme was entitled “Is social media making us more anti-social”. You can listen to it here. It was all a bit predictable really, a succession of luddites rang in to complain about how society was being ruined by people’s addiction to screens and devices, interspersed by a few common sense voices. At the same time, twitter was alive with people decrying the points of view being put forward (see the #youandyours hashtag on twitter).

As I say, all a bit predictable. People who prefer to listen to the radio and use the telephone (perhaps the original social media tool, ironically) mainly being in the anti-social media camp; and twitter users being pro. Who would have guessed?

But I feel strongly that people who say that using social media makes us anti-social have been allowed to get away with that accusation for too long. They are wrong. They are the anti-social ones, choosing only to be sociable with a small group of people who happen to be in the same room as them. Those of us who use social media have a whole world of contacts to chose from when we want to communicate. Why cut yourself off from a wide network like that?

This true anti-social attitude is putting some people off from using social media and blocking some possible uses. There are lots of lonely people who would benefit from its networking opportunities. If only they didn’t listen to the luddites.