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.

2 thoughts on “Social Media is not anti-social

  1. Agree.
    An awful lot of the people I want or need to talk to are at the other end of the world in different time zones. Social media enables us to communicate. It would be nice to teleport but we can’t do that yet. We could use telepresence and be virtually in the same room once we all have decent connections, but until that day we use blogs, twitter, facebook or skype when possible. If we have to revert to phone calls its more difficult and more expensive.

    It was ok when we all lived and worked in the same town or village, but now everything is global, and social media shrinks it all down to a global village. The luddites just haven’t joined it yet, and some never will, but like the dinosaurs they will soon become extinct. We’ll just have to carry on and see if we can save a few more.

  2. Great post John. it reminds me that my Nan used to get me to help her with one of her favourite pastimes. She would cut out articles from the local and national papers and post them to her friends up and down the country. These were things she found funny or interesting and it was her way of sharing common interests with her friends. Most social media works on the same premise. It’s just the rituals we have always had as communities with a new set of tools. Tools that , as you point out , mean you can now step outside the small circle of friends most of us have. The Luddites have short memories. I’m sure if my Nan was alive today she would have loved Twitter.

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