Social Media – then and now

What would be your immediate reaction if you were on the move and then needed to make a call to someone, but this intention was scuppered by the lack of mobile connectivity? It is not an uncommon situation to be in; while mobile masts have sprung up by the hundreds and thousands since their inception, certain areas, particularly rural ones, struggle with a lack of mobile coverage and it is not possible to get a signal. Unfortunately, it is often the case that at these points in time a signal is most needed! Imagine if you were walking in the woods and twisted and ankle. How would you get help if you were on your own? And wouldn’t it just be the case that the mobile signal would be non-existent in that kind of situation?

We can possibly replace the case of needing to make a phone call with a similar need, to check emails or social media updates. Work and social media companies have cultivated a dependency in us to check our accounts at frequent intervals. What would your reaction be if your ability to do so was hindered by a lack of connectivity for a period of, for instance, four hours? According to social psychologists, many of us would feel slightly depressed and have elevated heart rate levels because the lack of control over our immediate circumstances would imposed these emotions upon us.

The dependency on such forms of technology may be a good reason for us to break the cycle of need. Not only do they create a negative effect when they work – they are forcing us to be dependent on them and to engage in repetitive behaviour such as checking for updates, but because of the negative impact they have when they do not work – causing us to be stressed and frustrated, and actively checking the internet connection so we can access our updates – it can be surmised we are slaves to that technology.

The piano composer Franz Liszt was a very social person, seeking the limelight as an extrovert, but managed to do so without the slightest level of social media that we have today. But being sociable without technology is possible, and arguably richer. You establish deeper levels of face to face relationships, because that is the only meaningful time you will get, instead of having two relationships (face to face and virtual) which may conflict with each other.

What would Liszt do if he were alive today? He might just have dispensed with the mobile phone. He would have preferred the live handkerchiefs thrown to him instead of the virtual emojis!