Social media does not make you a horrible person

From your comments on our post Are our kids the me, me, me generation? it’s clear that people feel strongly about the role of social media in our world. Some of you believe adults are just as guilty of living their lives bent over an iPhone; others feel we are entitled to spend our down time as we wish and the rudeness of the teenage girls in our story is not related to social media or technology. This post is reader Amy Bowman‘s response.

In family/social gatherings, I am the ‘absent’ one. A newspaper, or better yet, a good book? Yep, that’s me with my head buried in it. Not at parties or the dinner table, but day trips to the in-laws or lazy afternoon family gatherings where everyone feels comfortable to sit and chat in small groups, chase the kids or do their own thing. I’m constantly attached to my iPad and iPhone, but it’s usually an ebook, audiobook, podcast or textbook that I’m lost in.

I do snap pics and pop them on Facebook to keep my family, who are often miles away, updated. I also remember spending hours on the phone to my friends – yes, the phone had a cord and was plugged into the wall and yes, I’d get yelled at for tying up the line.

“This is a woman who has never heard of social media. The only ‘social’ she gets is shopping with her mum and daughter and church gatherings. She’s a bitch”

It’s not the constant connectedness or the absenteeism of those connected that is the issue. Downright rudeness at the dinner table, or hurting someone’s feelings (in person or online) are my deal breakers.

I have a lady who is a regular customer, in her late 50s or 60s. She says things like “Oh, you’ve had a hair-cut. Don’t worry, it’ll grow back”. Or, “You’ve lost weight. Gosh, you look sick”. And even, “You look so young. Just like a little kid”. This is a woman who has never heard of social media. The only ‘social’ she gets is shopping with her mum and daughter and church gatherings. She’s a bitch. Social media does NOT make you a horrible person. Personality, life experience (which yes, now includes online experience), upbringing and PERSONAL CHOICE determine what kind of person you are.

"The mean girls have always been around," says reader Amy Bowman.

“The mean girls have always been around,” says Amy Bowman. (‘You can’t sit with us’ meme from 2004 movie Mean Girls)

I think the mean girls have always been around, the wannabe celebs, the wannabe rich and famous kids. They have new tools, but so does my daughter – she can follow Girl Archaeologist and Kathy Reichs and anti-bullying campaigns and philanthropic youth organizations and AMAZING women and companies who do AMAZING things and inspire her to do the same.

Maybe we need to join them, not beat them. Show our kids how amazing, inspiring and uplifting the Internet and social media can be. Show them the role models they SHOULD have, instead of the Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans.

 

Is Amy right in saying we shouldn’t be blaming social media for people’s rudeness or narcissism?

 

Comments

  1. Martine@themodernparent says:

    Some great points raised here. I am just drafting up my own response to the ‘me generation’ theory. I agree that we have always had mean kids and bullies….I guess the social networking makes the communication so much more accessible and so much harder to avoid for those on the receiving end.

  2. Absolutely agree that mean people, bullies and bitches have always existed. I just think social media has amplified their ability to impact on other people’s lives.
    Janine Fitzpatrick recently posted..Where The Bloody Hell Is The Phone?My Profile

  3. Lisa@circleoftoast says:

    Totally agree – in fact, some of the most unlikeable people I have met have actually been the sort to ‘look down’ on social media, with the attitude of “Only losers with no real friends use Facebook”.

  4. *nods in furious agreement* Especially your last paragraph, how are kids to learn what makes someone a good online citizen if they never see it modelled?

  5. The last paragraph of Amy’s post was what I was trying to explain at my presentation on Monday.
    However, I don’t think it’s so black and white with kids. I speak from my experiences as a teenager, as my boys aren’t at that stage yet but I just remember peer pressure and that whole teenage angst that can lead to spontaneous actions. It is worrying that social media is at these teenager’s finger tips to use and carry out that impulsive behaviour. It really is a tough one.
    Grace recently posted..FYBF Featured Flogger – Kim from Spirited MamaMy Profile

  6. I think those that diss social media are just unaware of scared of it, eg the unknown. And I agree, we need to be making stars/heroes of the people in the world that make a difference, not celebrities!
    Emily @ Have a laugh on me recently posted..A tirade targeting twats, gits and Kim KardashianMy Profile

  7. Good story Amy. Thank you. Yes it is a matter of manners. And a reminder that manners must be incorporated with each new invention involving communication and socialization.

    P.S. So that customer you’ve got there….ain’t she a piece of work? 🙂 Imagine the ruckus she would cause if she were part of our teen’s social network? Yikes!
    Katherine Hynes recently posted..Mobile bill horror, and a mother’s revengeMy Profile

  8. A little of column A, a little of column B. I think social media and its accessibility just makes it easier to be rude – but you have to be the kind of person who’s willing to be rude first.

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