Some might call me an “old millennial.” I grew up in that early '80s and '90s era and witnessed a whole host of things birthed in my lifetime. This includes the creation of computers, cell phones and the internet. However, during my adolescent years, none of that existed. We would've never even dreamed of half the outlets we have today.
Which brings me to the reason I am here. As someone who spends plenty of time on social media, loving the purpose and opportunities it brings, at times I wish it would all just crash and burn. We've all become so accustomed to being glued to our phones 24/7, we miss key moments to truly connect with each other and the physical world around us.
I sound a bit hypocritical, because hell, I admit I often have trouble putting my phone down. For most of the world it has become an innate routine. We are media obsessed freaks and don't even realize it.
But what would our relationships look like if we were disconnected for even a day or a week? Would we accomplish more? Would we get extra time to love on our children? Or show undivided attention to our partners? I believe the answer to all of this is "yes."
I often sit and wallow in my own guilt for being so connected to my devices, longing for a time machine to take me back to the days where all of this extra stuff was just an afterthought. I think back to the times where I drove around town and went all day without any form of access to anyone unless you saw them face to face. If you needed to holler at someone you had to scrounge up some change for that pay phone at the gas station or wait until you got home, only to discover someone else using it, as you patiently waited your turn. We had to wait all day to talk to our boyfriends or girlfriends until we got home, and that anticipation, honestly, was quite nice. We didn't think a thing about it, did we?
When we went on dates or to dinner we had no phone in our hands. We were forced to give the other person our undivided attention. When we spent time at family functions, all we had was the presence of each other. And you know what? We survived. I did some research and noticed that from 1990 to our present day the marriage rate has been on a steady decline. Could any of this be attributed to social media? I won't speculate too much, but I definitely believe that it has been the demise of many relationships and causes a host of issues in the dating world. I also believe it could be contributing to less people getting married. Lets face it, social media can alter the process of dating. With so many men and women having trust issues already, adding Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram to the mix can triple our anxiety.
Think about how many couples you have seen get into arguments on Facebook, post a photo of a different boo every six months or air out all their drama on the world wide web? People are even catching their mates cheating online. And when it comes to meeting people, we don't even know if that person is real or a serial killer. During the dating process, folks spend time “orbiting,” also known as ignoring text messages but keeping up with the person's social media accounts. I believe it also eliminates an element of intrigue. We judge people based off their social media pages before we even get a chance to know them. The discovery aspect of dating is part of what pushes our relationships forward, and with social media in the way, it can stunt its growth.
Technology is rapidly advancing, and at the end of the day I believe a healthy, honest relationships will always survive any form of social media. It's the relationships with gray areas that will probably be affected the most. But in my opinion, we would have more opportunities to love each other a little bit more if we detached from it.