Social Media: How Far is too Far?

Posted by: Sami Smith

Most aspects of my life involve social media. Not just because I am a journalism student, but because it is how this era is. Communication is evolving, and the way we talk to each other is  directly impacted by the vast growth in the web and social media. I embrace this as the way things are. However, after seeing a post on the Fast Company site, I had to think twice. The post was publicizing a social media push to tweet at a plant to convince it to grow faster. These messages were sent in text-to-speech technology, which was tested against a plant given no “encouragement.”

I thought “Wait. Am I actually being asked to tweet at a plant? To encourage it to grow? It may have some scientific back-up, but is this really where social media is heading?” So where is social media heading? What aspects of our lives will we soon be able to control with a tweet? And what consequences could this have on the media dependence of future generations?

This coffee pot is controlled by Twitter.  You set it up, and tell it to start with a tweet. Seemingly innocent, but I can’t help but wonder where the line is for every day tasks. I like to think there will be certain parts of our lives that will remain untouched by the influence of social media—aspects that will remain human and personal. Many of us understand that the realm of communication is changing rapidly with the development of new media, but will some things be preserved? Will we soon be sending well-wishes for lost loved ones via Skype funeral? Will regular doctor’s visits be conducted via the Internet? Where are the bounds of online schooling? All of these issues are intertwined with our media connection, and many have the capabilities to be morphed into new types of cultural norms. There need to be boundaries. We need to keep communication lines open so that we can still understand the compassion, love, fear, and sadness that humans are designed to experience in life. I hope that social media stays relevant, global, and viable to spreading truth and entertainment, not overreaching or taking over every day human tasks and experiences.

Where do you draw the line for social media in your communication with others? What every day tasks are you okay with controlling via social media? Are there any practices or routines that will not be influenced by the Internet in your life?

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4 responses to “Social Media: How Far is too Far?

  1. Sami, you bring up some interesting points. I, too, use social media during most of the hours I’m awake, and it usually takes a comment from someone who doesn’t stay so connected to make me take a second look at how much I’m putting out there. If this is how connected we are in 2013 (and only in our 20s), what will life be like when we’re older and technology has gone through many more revolutions and expansions? I try to draw the line at letting social media control what I do and how I operate in my day-to-day life outside of social interaction. Yes, if I go out with friends, there will likely be Instagram photos. If I go out to eat, I’ll probably check in on Foursquare. Talking on Facebook or Twitter will never replace a face-to-face conversation for me and I would never want my whole house to be controlled via a remote or smartphone past the point of logical convenience. Perhaps throughout our lifetime developers will find a way to greatly increase our social media usage while making it more personal and encouraging outside interaction as well.

  2. It’s good to hear not all of us will be relying on Twitter to make our coffee 🙂

  3. I feel like social media will continue to evolve and influence us. I can, however, foresee people, and families especially, forcing themselves to not rely as heavily on social media simply to save face-to-face communication and physical human contact. Maybe we haven’t crossed that invisible line yet, but once people start Skyping in for dinners while they are in the same house, maybe they will realize the absurdity of it all and go back to their roots of wanting genuine face-to-face conversations.

  4. I completely agree, Olivia. Hopefully we don’t lose that sense of personal connection due to a technology that could be so helpful to our industry.

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