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By any other name

By Michael Cole

Social media is improperly named.

Take it from me.

As someone that does a lot of his work on social media platforms like Facebook, I can readily attest to that fact.

And what is not to be loved about social media?

Even our President uses it.

We use it to connect with friends across the globe, to reach out and reconnect with friends and family we lost contact with years ago.

We share our daily triumphs, our tragedies; we share silly cat pictures and selfies by the ton.

With cat pictures, we have made a full turn back to Ancient Egypt. Several thousand years ago, the Egyptian carved pictures on walls and worshipped cats.

Today, we put emojis on our Facebook walls and share LolCats.

But the one thing we do not do…

Live life in front of us.

We are so enamored by our social media life that we forget the life right in front of us.

I can go into a restaurant and see a family sitting quietly while they eat. Now, this is not because they have nothing to talk about, it is more because every one of them is busy scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and who knows what else.

I am though, impressed that the infant can hold the phone and jealous he has over 100,000 followers.

We are so busy with our social media profile and reputation that we ignore the people right in front of us.

I have been guilty of that. And believe me, it is easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole.

I think on more than one occasion; my wife tried to have me declared legally deceased because I was not responding to outside stimuli.

She was stopped each time because my phone died.

It has become an addiction worse than any other drug. I would not be surprised if on some street corner there were dealers that sold fully charged batteries from the back of cars.

I can imagine the pamphlet on it.

These days parents have become alarmed at a change in their kid’s behavior. Vacant stares, non-responsive, muttering in a dialect that you are unable to understand. All the LOL’s, and BRB’s, and eventually the hardcore WTF and ROFL?

Then you have a child with a severe Social Media Addiction.

You might have thought it was cute when your teen opened their Facebook account, but that was a gateway platform.

It leads to much more severe addictions, like Instagram, SnapChat, Whatsapp, and Twitter.

Severe cases may even include Google Plus and Redditt.

Parents, when this happens, there is only one cure, and that is having their phone surgically removed from their hand.

That might be a little over the top, but it does show a big problem.

Our phones have started to replace all human interaction. There need to be boundaries to social media. In an ideal world, social media is just one more tool to see how the world away from us is doing.

Not to replace the world around us.

When you cannot go into a conversation, with a person in front of you without tapping your phone to check for messages, you have a problem.

And I honestly think that it is the biggest threat to society we face. We are losing our closeness and attachment to the ones we love in front of us. We are so busy leading a social media life that we do not lead a real life.

My wife and I are trying our best to cut down on our social media interactions. We leave the phones in the other room when we are doing things together at home. If we are out on a date, we leave them in the glove compartment.

There is no message, no call, no status update that should ever be more important than the person in front of you.

Now if you excuse me, my Social Media Anonymous meeting starts in fifteen minutes. And I have just enough time to post a selfie and status update about it.