Social Media Does Not Disconnect Us.

I don’t usually rant, but I do reserve the right to. So here it is.

I’m really sick of hearing people say social media causes us to be disconnected. I’ll answer that with two words: Bull. Crap.

Obviously there are times when we become engrossed in our smart phones and should pay more attention to those around us. But what’s the difference between a smart phone and a book, video game or any other interest that can take over and interfere with interpersonal relationships?

In my own life, my social media connections have served to establish relationships and strengthen existing ones. I owe my career today to connections first established via Twitter.

On Facebook, I’m connected to and interact frequently with people I’d never have talked to otherwise. I have friends with whom I share common interests that I haven’t met in person. One woman I’m friends with on Facebook has been a friend of my mother’s all my life — I’ve known her in a Mrs. So-and-So way, but now enjoy and interact with her as an adult friend.

Social networks are like anything else in life; you can use them in a healthy manner and they will enrich your life. Use them obsessively and in a way that isn’t productive or helpful and it’s a problem.

Same with books. Music. TV. Radio. Movies. Hobbies. Sports. Work. Alcohol. Drugs. I’ve even known people who use reading the Bible as a way to escape being with others.

I’m more connected because of my obsession with activity on social networks. When the tornado sirens go off in Memphis and I’m the only one here, I’m still not alone when I sign on to Twitter and there are plenty of friends telling me to be safe and cracking jokes to break the tension just a little.

If your use of social media is dysfunctional, don’t blame the medium. Blame yourself, because if Facebook and Twitter were sucked into a cyberspace black hole, you’d still find a way to make a mess of your relationships.

How has social media impacted your life? Are you more connected or less?

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