Communication on social networks can be essential to keep us informed about the people we have in our lives. It can improve our lives through the rapid exchange of information, which generates new ideas and emotional stimulation. But communication on social media will never provide what real-life intimacy does. If you are too satisfied with tweeting, image sharing, and posting, then you can become the pseudo person that no one really knows or misses.
Despite the benefits of convenience and immediacy, social media has become, for many people, a tool that limits, not enhances, intimacy in relationships. Replying to someone’s Facebook post or acknowledging someone’s latest Instagram post has been mistaken for actually being in a relationship. It is true that these more superficial modes of communication in social networks have created a higher frequency of contact between people, but is it the type of contact that really matters? Most people admit that they spend too much time managing and thinking about the influx of information online and in phone text messages.
In most cases, social media has not created connections between people that lead to deepening, growing, or life-enhancing experiences. The new norm of saturation of online communication has replaced more personal forms of participation with the exchange of information.
Streaming a photo of the giant burger you’re eating for lunch or sharing a quick opinion on the movie you just saw can be fun, and there’s no harm in tweeting an opinion or thought before you forget it. But there is a downside to these short sound bites replacing more personal forms of contact that create more emotional and expansive experiences between people.
The immediacy and ease offered by contact on social networks has become, for many, an addictive substitute for real connections, and has normalized the development of pseudo-relationships, that is, a physical exchange of communication through technology lacking. deep, shared exchange. experiences between people.
Of course, we don’t need or want intimacy with everyone who incidentally touches our lives. These peripheral relationships lend themselves well to communication on social media. But when people we care about, or could potentially care about, are relegated to our contact pattern on social media, the opportunities for real connection are greatly reduced.
Common Problems That Are Part of Pseudo-Relationship Syndrome
Fear of intimacy is often behind why some people become overwhelmed with communication on social media. Many say there is less vulnerability online, so the rejection experience feels muted. The reality is that vulnerability online can pose an even greater risk to self-esteem. Sharing too much information online in the form of words and images exposes one to excessive judgment and potential relationship rejection, conflict, and embarrassment.
The idea of being protected from rejection or pain by online versus real-time experiences is not accurate, as many people are now learning through negative experiences of overexposure to the masses.
Many people experience tremendous shame, regret, and anxiety about overusing social media communications, and yet continue to do so. Is it an addiction or just a normalized way of relating to people in modern times?
Is self-esteem the problem?
People with low self-esteem indulge in contacts on social networks to boost their ego. It’s easy to depend on a large number of people to give you their opinion and pay attention to you on your social networks. For many, these new personal media statistics have become a measure of self-esteem within their social groups and business communities. This desire to manipulate people into developing positive views of oneself creates a tendency for many to lie or embellish personal information or accomplishments. There is a risk online for people with unstable self-esteem, as comments can be brutally critical and cause one to feel excessive personal shame, anxiety and isolation. And the humiliation of being exposed for lying can also be devastating to self-esteem.
The attraction of the theater
Using social media as a primary form of communication tends to keep relationships superficial, but it can also create a great source of drama. People who crave conflict or chaos are particularly prone to social media obsession, as their over-involvement in what people do and say can trigger the intense emotional responses they crave. An image cannot be retrieved once it has been viewed. You can’t erase words that can hurt someone or make them want to hurt you. The ease and immediacy of technology creates an impulsiveness that many people cannot control. You feel powerful when you come into conflict with someone online, and yet it can turn into an obsessive dynamic with negative results both personally and professionally.
Dealing with these emotional issues is an essential part of reducing excessive social media use and its negative results. Learning how to properly use social media as a springboard to developing more meaningful relationships will preserve it as a positive means of communication rather than a flawed replacement for healthy relationships with the people in your life. A tweet will never feel as good as a smile, a handshake, a hug or a kiss.
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