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Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal

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Social Media: Puppies, Parenting and the Wind

April 27th, 2019 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, the social media phenomenon – good, bad or somewhere in-between?

I should be down at the lakefront birdwatching right now. But the weather has reverted to mid-March conditions and there are not enough cuss words in the English language to express my displeasure. So, rather than rant about this petulant spring, I will once again ponder the perplexing question of social media and where it is taking us.

First, some context. There are in the neighbourhood of 4.39 billion internet users of which 3.48 billion use social media. Worldwide the average user spends 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networks and messaging apps.

The top five platforms in Canada are Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram (owned by Facebook) and YouTube. Worldwide, the top five are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Qzone and Weibo – the latter two being Chinese in origin and presumably driven by the fact that China heads the list of population by country at 1.42 billion.

The numbers aside, is social media on balance more beneficial or more harmful/

On the plus side, social media has enabled conversations between human beings that were not possible in the era of mass media. These networked conversations lead to new forms of social organization and levels of knowledge exchange never before conceived.

We are arguably smarter, more informed and more organized because of social media. It has made the world a much smaller place in a virtual sense – connecting people on opposite ends of the globe at the click of a button.

On the minus side, social media can become addictive. Researchers have posed the idea of “Facebook Addiction Disorder” characterized by the same qualities as other forms of addiction – neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, concealing of addictive behaviour and withdrawal symptoms.

Other studies have linked heavy Facebook use to less moment-to-moment happiness, less life satisfaction and social isolation. Scrolling through social media feeds encourages comparing ourselves to others which can make us feel that we do not measure up. It can breed jealousy – for example, seeing other people’s expensive vacations which we cannot afford.

Honestly, I am not sure where I land on the good or bad debate. There may not be a definitive answer. Rather than declare for one side or other, I will leave you with three thought-provoking metaphors for social media I found online. I have my favourite. Which one is yours?

Social media is like a puppy: It is cute and cuddly and looks easy to take care of at first. Then you realize it needs constant care and attention.

Social media is like parenting: Just when you think you have it figured out, they change the rules of engagement.

Social media is like wind energy: The wind is free but the wind generator is not.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kiersten May 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm

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  • 2 Michael Dyet May 1, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks. Glad you’re enjoying my posts. I did have a major problem with spam. I found a setting that allowed me to close posts to comments after a specific period of time. That took care of the problem.