Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and countless other sites and social media outlets have us feeling more connected than ever. We can meet and talk with people around the world with lighting speed like we were never able to before. The internet has enabled us to find and expand our tribe, but is there a cost to all of this connection?
Being an 80’s baby and 90’s teenager I grew up in a time where technology was changing at rapid rates everyday. I can only imagine what my parents were feeling when they saw all of these changes happening around them. Of course they were thrown right into the middle of it through me. I received my first computer when I was six, I played video games in the arcade at seven and had my first video game console at ten. I’m no stranger to technology, in fact I do consider it to be a wonderful addition to my childhood. Then I turned 13 and the internet became THE thing.
I was coming of age when the internet was coming of age as well. We were both wide-eyed explorers who were eager and ready to take on the world. In those earlier days of the internet you had to be creative when seeking the things that you wanted. There was no Google or Facebook. You had to find chat rooms to connect with other people and many of the rooms were categorized by age, location and/or interests. Pictures were rare and there were no filters or hashtags. Probably the most important thing about the internet back then was that you couldn’t easily access it on your phone. You could only access it by way of an oven sized modem attached to your desktop. You had to make sure no one was using the phone line cause then the speed would slow down and wait for the dial-up connection to go through.
Interaction was very different then and while a part of me appreciates the ease of our current times I feel a sense of anxiety more than I ever did when I was a teenager. Social media has made it so that it is an imperative part of one’s life but if you try and severe your ties with it then you suffer the consequences whatever they may be for you. Social media has proven to be an essential part of owning a business. Advertising is made much easier and you can find your target audience quicker and cheaper than you were able to in the previous decades. Social media also allows us to express our creativity. I am a beneficiary of this. YouTube allows people to create their own content and skip the middle man. Instagram has helped to catapult many comedy, writing and modeling careers. Facebook brings people (mostly those 30+) together and reconnects old friends.
What I’ve noticed in my personal experiences is that if I’m not uploading pictures, tweeting, blogging or commenting on a regular basis then the audience that I’ve built up tends to dissipate. The thirst for content is never ending and it can leave content creators feeling a bit drained. I went through a period of keeping up-to-date on all of my social media platforms but I was also letting my life fall by the wayside. So what is the payoff? For those of you who are creative individuals, business owners, or simply people wishing to establish connection, do you feel as though the internet is draining your life?