Death by Social Media

19 Nov

Everyone has that friend that is constantly updating their Facebook status, documenting every breath on Twitter or ranting about some superfluous pet peeve on their blog. You may even be that friend. While it is quite evident that social media is an important if not necessary tool for keeping up with the times, it has also consumed the lives of many. So much that some people are even addicted to their social media outlets.

It’s a bizarre concept, but you also wonder how people who are always updating their status on five different websites can get anything else done. It is especially concerning when you see websites, such as Facebook, causing people great misfortunes like losing their job over an inappropriate tagged photo or even driving a mother to killing her child because of Farmville.

As more stories about overuse of social media emerge and make headlines, we know what is coming next: the parody. From the people at YourTango, a digital media site for love and relationships, comes the ‘80s PSA spoof, warning people of the dangers of social media addiction.

The video pokes fun at Twitter, Farmville, Foursquare and several other social media tools as if they were a drug addiction. It is over-the-top yet ironically believable considering how many people are plugged in 24/7. The message YourTango was making a point of is that so many people get too caught up in the digital world that they forget to keep up with and maintain their real life relationships. People are too focused on Tweeting about how wonderful the date is that they’re on than actually enjoying the time spent with the other person. Mashable wrote an interesting article about how Facebook has changed societies’ perspective on dating and ultimately has resulted in more drama that would otherwise not exist.

Are we really predisposed to dating controlled by social media or is there some hope left out there for an old fashioned, face-to-face, real-life relationship? To answer this, we must look to the origin of a relationship, or the first date. From the minds of two best friends, Aaron Schildkrout and Brian Schechter, came the idea of a dating website that focuses on the one of those infamous beauty pageant questions: Describe your ideal date. Rather than posting pictures and information about oneself, users post ideas for dates and the area that they live in. The website, titled “How about we…” is free to post and read date ideas, the only cost comes when you want to send a message to the person asking them on a date.

I find this to be a very innovative form of online dating. It’s the new way to blind date, but you get to choose the kind of date you go on. Some potential date ideas include:

“How about we… attack the Sunday crossword in a quiet café.”

“How about we… shop for pop-rocks in a classic candy store.”

“How about we… drink wine and see who can make the other laugh first.”

The site allows users to make profiles, but not as in depth as other dating sites. The questions asked reveal more unique information. Some include, “What would you bring to show and tell?” and “One thing my mother would want you to know about me?” This focuses more on the personality and makes things more relaxed.

Ideas like this are what help me to believe that social media can do great things if used correctly. The site uses social media as the stepping-stone from your digital to real life. It requires you to physically go out and interact with people without being overly dependent on the site itself. It can help save you from the dreaded, “Social Media Addiction.”

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