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I’m in that group of people that have been annoyingly labeled ‘Millenials’… and I hate being called a Millenial. I prefer ‘technology warrior’. When I was born, cell phones were just invented, the original Gameboy was released and the first satellite went into orbit. Fast forward 30 years, the world is barely recognizable because modern day communication has changed everything.
There’s thousands of blog posts about modern day communication and how things have really changed. They list all of the devices that have come out and transformed things, but that’s not what I’m going for.
I wanna talk about the social changes that have happened.
The good, the bad and the downright ugly.
If you read my post about INFJs and social media, you know I’m not the biggest fan of social media, however, I do feel like there are plenty of good things that are worth pointing out about social media and modern day communication.
Before social media, there were soo many things that I did that I thought no one could relate to. So I never talked about them… with anyone!
Then the meme was born and everything changed.
We all started relating to each other over weird (and I mean weird) things that we all do but never talk about…. cause it’s weird to talk about them.
But, for some reason it’s okay when it’s Times New Roman font on a photo of a celebrity.
That meme is me when I go to the movies… except they’re missing my huge, overstuffed purse…
I personally don’t think people make a big enough deal about memes.
Yeah, while they’re all just crudely made graphics, they’ve made a huge difference in the human experience and how we connect with each other.
Where we all once felt somewhat isolated, we can now unite over a meme.
Like parenting for example.
It used to be taboo as hell to say anything about how parenting was hard, it wasn’t glamorous, and a lot of the time, parents were at their wit’s end!
You were supposed to act like it was easy, life was always beautiful and you were a bad parent if you ever complained….
But, look at us now!
We can talk about real shit without sounding evil.
“HA! Colby busted his face on his stupid Spiderman toy that has been on the living room floor since Tuesday!”
Because we all know that’s too far… but the meme gets the point across.
It’s just a chance to open up the lines of communication when saying what you really wanna say is too much.
Especially about topics like mental health or ‘adulting struggles’.
We’re finally talking about it… and I love it!
It’s no longer this dirty secret that we feel the need to keep locked behind a door and 5 dead bolts.
There’s something about finding someone who can relate to how you’re feeling. Even if you don’t have some heartfelt conversation about it, you at least know you’re not alone.
So lets take a second to celebrate the meme and all the ways this weird form of modern day communication has broken barriers.
We’re Just All Insanely Dramatic… Together
I can’t say that us being dramatic together is really a ‘good thing’ more than it is comedic relief.
We are all so over-the-top with exaggerated expressions that I just can’t even. (See what I did there?)
But seriously, lets talk about our Universal exaggerated love for coffee.
When I used to work in dispatch, my partner and I took our coffee very seriously.
But instead of being normal and saying “I need a cup of coffee”, we would say things like “I would cut off my right arm and throw it in the kitchen if it would bring me back some coffee.”
We clearly didn’t actually mean that we wanted to chop our arm off… but there’s something cathartic about being dramatic about something so miniscule.
It’s like my friend that called to tell me about her new crush. Instead of saying “He’s so handsome”, she said “I’d let him run over me in traffic.”
But oddly, I got it… and I understood what she meant.
Modern day communication has turned us into a bunch of oddly relatable drama Queens, but I can’t say I’m not here for it.
Words Of Modern Day Communication
Words seem to mean more and less in today’s world.
Half of the world is long-winded jabber boxes like myself… and the other half only uses internet lingo and emojis.
To each his own…. but what I want to talk about is ‘The Words’.
The Words we all know and love (or love to hate).
Basic, ghost, shook, slay, tea, AF…. (and apparently people are using OTP as a way to describe your crush…. dunno… in Atlanta that means ‘Outside The Perimeter’ but whatever.)
My favorites are definitely the one liners though: same, mood, shade, me.
It goes back to us all relating to each other in a new, weird way.
You post this:
And someone comments “Same”.
That’s basically the equivalent of a fist bump….
Or you have an incredibly incompetent trainee at work and you share this:
And one of your co-workers comments “Shade”.
They know exactly what you’re talking about but they know better than to say “Martha is a moron! That’s hilarious!”
The Words are just another way that we’ve sorta synched together.
Like it or not, The Words are here to stay.
Except I wish The Word ‘Bae’ would go jump off a building. I hate that one….
Now we’re gonna get a bit sappy, cause this is the last one I have for the ‘good’ list.
Before social media and all of the advances to technology, we had the news.
The only way we had to get our hands on some wholesome content was to pray that the nightly news would show a happy story (ya know, right after the headlines about murders and financial woes and such…)
You’d see the occasional story about a dog that found its way home after 3 months or a single mother who finally got a break and found a job through some wild story…
But aside from that, most of the real-world content was bleak and terrifying.
Not saying the news isn’t still a huge Debbie Downer, but I’m saying that we have other ways of finding the good in the world now.
I was working in dispatch during the height of the ‘Police are Evil Douchebags Movement’. So, I knew first-hand that all police weren’t bad people.
But the public didn’t get to hear about deputies taking home stray dogs, paying for kids’ lunches or giving rides to strangers….
But social media helped show the good while the news was busy blasting all of the bad.
The police officer that gave his shoes and jacket to a homeless man. The trooper that sat next to the hospital bed of a child involved in a horrible accident. The deputies that bought a carseat for the family that couldn’t afford to get their newborn a proper seat…
And the wholesome content doesn’t stop with cops. It’s all over sports, schools, workplaces and my favorite: animal stories (you gotta check out 1Bike1World and read his story with his rescue cat, Nala. Get out the tissues though, it’s a tear jerker!)
But really… I could have never imagined a day where I could search ‘Wholesome Stories’ and find endless pages of videos, stories and photos of truly beautiful things happening in the world.
Comment down below with your favorite wholesome story or page that shares wholesome content.
Of course we get to the part that’s more in keeping with my last post about social media. The bad side of modern day communication that has me begging for the days of the flip phone.
If you had told me that one day there would be a way to access all of the information in the world within just a few seconds, I would have said “Wow! We’ll all be so smart!!”
Shut up. I hear you laughing.
Turns out, it doesn’t really work that way.
I think dad always said “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”….. and apparently, a lot of the horses on social media decided to drink, but they drank the Kool-Aid instead…
People see a post on Facebook and think “Well, it must be true! I gotta share this!” without even taking a second to see if it’s true or not.
I think my favorite example of this is the ‘copy and paste’ posts.
“Facebook has been hiding half of my friends from my timeline. I copied this message and posted it to let the algorithm know that I want to see all of my friends again. I did it and wow! I see everyone again! Copy and paste if you want Facebook to know to stop hiding your friends.”
One quick Google search tells you that it’s not true… it was actually a social experiment to see how many people would share it without researching it first…
I won’t go on because you get what I mean, but wow. Just wow.
If you take anything away from this post, let it be this. Research, do some digging… don’t be the sheep that just follow the flock “just because”.
The Social Media Alter-Ego
This one technically goes under the ‘Downright Ugly’ category for me, but I think it’s just a pet peeve of mine. Most people aren’t as annoyed by it as I am, so I’m gonna try to not be so critical.
But everyone lives two lives. Their real life and then the life that they want the outside to see.
Before social media, you just had to pull your shit together in public to keep up appearances and everything was hunky dory.
Now, people can create fake realities from their sofas and share it for the world to see.
So you have truly hateful human beings masquerading as kind, loving people. You have miserable wives and husbands parading around like they are in complete marital bliss. Neglectful parents posting selfies with their kids and the caption ‘They’re my life!‘
I can’t really figure out what would make someone want to put out ‘fake news’ about their own life. Maybe to cover up sadness or pain? Maybe to deceive? Maybe because the rest of the internet makes them feel like they need to create a better life online?
Whatever it is, I wish for healing and happiness for anyone who feels like they need to create an alter-ego online.
This might be the ‘Personal Development Junkie’ in me, but your time is much better spent actually improving your life than it is faking it… just sayin’.
I’m gonna sound like I’m talking from both sides of my mouth… because I am.
While all of those things under the ‘Good’ category have helped us relate and feel more connected, we’re truly disconnected at the same time.
Hear me out.
You hop on Facebook and see an acquaintance from high school just had his 3rd kid. You see the photos and the heartfelt message to his wife… and you think “Awww… good for him!”
But, take a step back and answer me this:
Were y’all that close in school? Have y’all talked since then? If you were to bump into him at the grocery, would you feel like you could talk to him? What would you say?
We have this feeling like we’re friends with all of these people and we know what their lives are like… but they’re still strangers.
Social media and modern day communication has allowed us to lose contact with the people because of a false sense of closeness.
It can even get in the way of real friendships.
An example from my life: a lifelong friend of mine lives about an hour away. I saw her posts about her fiancé, her new job, her haircut, her son…. and I felt like I was caught up on the happenings in her life. I seemed to check in with her less and less because I was seeing her life in my feed. Fast forward and 3 years went by where we had stopped checking in (other than on social media).
It’s not that I didn’t love her to pieces… I let myself think that I was keeping in touch better than I actually was.
Don’t let the ease of ‘keeping in touch’ with modern day communication make you lazy about actually keeping in touch!
And don’t let yourself fall in the trap of feeling like you know someone that you really don’t.
The Downright Ugly
Here it is: the worst of the worst. The parts that scare me about modern day communication. The things that we all better recognize and correct before it’s too late.
We all know these trolls…
They fight for the sake of the fight.
They have all the time in the world and they have no issue calling someone horrible names in a Facebook thread about Black Friday sales…
These people have some of the most unique disses and insults you’ve ever heard. (I know the Keyboard Warriors reading this are thinking I’m complimenting them- I’m not.)
Real example I read in the comments once: “Your mom shoulda given you up after she had you because now she has to live with the shame of raising the dumbest person on Earth”….
While the insults and general jackass-ness is worrisome, the real trouble is with the psyche of the Keyboard Warrior.
They can sit safely behind their keyboard and hurt anyone’s feelings with zero consequences…. it makes them feel powerful and meaningful.
Just because they don’t have to be face-to-face with someone, they feel like they can do whatever they want…. and usually, they choose the low road.
But what happens when the minor rude comments aren’t enough to make them feel big anymore?
Will they become numb about being mean? Will they go further and further with their hate? Will they eventually feel the need to act out their aggressions in public?
I definitely don’t have all the answers to saving society, so I won’t act like I do. But we better get our act together and figure out a way to squash this issue before it becomes too big to contain.
We all have ‘that friend’ on our timelines that is a never-ending train wreck.
You don’t wanna look, but it’s human nature.
I’m not talking about the people that fall on hard times or are habitually ‘unlucky’.
I’m talking about the people who live in drama and turmoil because they bring it upon themselves by bringing their issues to social media!
I recently unfriended a high school acquaintance for taking it way too far.
Her and her ex are going through a custody battle and she decided to bring it up in ‘Facebook Court’.
She was tagging him in posts about deadbeat dads, sharing very hurtful stories and even posting videos of him doing some ‘less than tasteful’ things.
Having known that the guy was pretty rough his whole life, I knew that he wasn’t in the running for 2019’s Dad of The Year Award… but the poor guy didn’t deserve what she did.
Because not only did all these strangers know his personal business, it will forever be online.
So the sweet, innocent kid that they are fighting over today will eventually find all of these deliberately painful posts about her dad…. and her mom’s distain for him.
Social media isn’t the place for public shaming or airing your dirty laundry. Even if it fulfills some feelings of instant gratification, that kind of stuff doesn’t need to be paraded around for everyone to see.
Same goes for e-mails and texts… modern day communication is a tricky bugger. While it’s convenient, it requires some discretion and tact.
Because… even ‘deleted’ doesn’t mean ‘gone forever’.
Distraction & Denial
Most people use modern day communication as a way to distract themselves from their current reality.
Bad day at work? Share a Snapchat of you blasting gangsta rap in your car at lunch. Kids mentally exhaust you? Scroll Facebook while they nap. Feeling bad about your cheat day? Search Pinterest for some healthy snack ideas you’ll never make.
Which is all fine and dandy as long as it’s in moderation.
However, I think most people look at the modern day distraction as a wheelchair more than a crutch.
Instead of feeling the feelings, figuring out the solutions and deciding to make changes, we’re looking to distract ourselves.
Watching someone else’s drama on Facebook helps you to deny your own real-life dramas.
But what if we got out of the wheelchair and removed the crutches?
Bad day at work? Spend some time reflecting on how it can be better once you return from lunch. Kids mentally exhaust you? Take a few minutes for some self care while they nap. Feeling bad about your cheat day? Go for a walk.
Modern day communication, whether it be social media, text messaging or video calls…. has stopped us from truly living our lives.
We’re too busy scrolling, liking, sharing and posting to look up and see that life is happening whether we pay attention or not…
Modern Day Communication
WOW! This post ended up being way more cynical than I had envisioned it in my head, but it is what it is.
I think we all just need to be a bit more aware of how we use and absorb the information we come across due to modern day communication.
It’s 24/7, it’s intriguing, it’s distracting and it’s addicting.
But don’t let life pass you by and just happen to you.
Put the phone down, log off Netflix and turn the game controller off.
Reach out. Talk to friends. Meet up with friends. Stay in touch. Tackle whatever it is you’re distracting yourself from.
I know it’s tempting to hide in technology, but real life is way more fun.
Make sure to leave me a comment below with your thoughts on modern day communication. Do you love it? Hate it? Both?