I was listening to a recent public television special on how important and crucial the word “like” has become. It has become more than a friendly feeling. The word “like” is now associated with attitudes such as acceptance, appreciation, and recognition. As I sat there listening, I was struck with my own level of participation in this activity, and how I’ve “liked” various people’s activities and photos. I realize my topic doesn’t directly affect stepfamilies, but I feel it does affect relationships.
“Will you like me as a friend, will you like my book, will you like my Facebook page, will you like my product, my movie, my picture, my opinion, my video….” I began to ponder how many children use social media to feel loved and accepted as an emotional crutch, but will settle for “like”. Well, adults too for that matter.
The truth of what the researcher was saying hit me hard. He was speaking to a group of young adults who had their laptops and/or iPads, as they shared with him what they wanted the “world” to know about them. The “likes” and pictures they posted were the bait they offered to the public as they fished for responses. One young man said his profile picture and cover image received less “likes” than his female friend as they both made their changes at the same time. She received responses within seconds that totalled much more than his did in two minutes. “You just have to know how to do it” was the answer from the group. I honestly wondered if the young man felt “less liked” at that moment. Hmmmm.
Especially because children, teens, and young adults flood social media with pictures and information, marketers and retail businesses know exactly how to market to them, how to get them to spend their money, and request to “like” their business page. Depending on what browser you use, such as Google, and how many apps you have on your cell phone, you can be tracked to where you are and what you are doing. That is quite unnerving to me.
I don’t want people I don’t know to have this much information about me. I value my quiet time, my “be alone” time, my “get lost” time. Geez, didn’t we used to live with talking, writing, and calling…with generations and bazillions of people since Adam and Eve who lived, survived, and even excelled in life?
This afternoon, I heard Alex Trebek on Jeopardy ask a man (one of the contestants) how he does it living without a cell phone? The guy said he loved it and would not consider having one. He lives, works, loves, plays, and eats all without a cell phone. He appeared quite happy.
From a medical standpoint, chiropractors and doctors are beginning to see the effects of ongoing cell phone usage in our thumbs, arms, necks, and backs. I see cartoons on Facebook with figures sunburned except for the pale area denoting where their arms and cell phone were. Really? How did we become so dependent on a small technical device?
How did we become so influenced by and addicted to who likes us, likes our pictures, likes our….whatever. At our family gatherings, I was a bad guy for awhile asking to just “be present” and visit and NO iPhones or iPads. Now, everyone sits around laughing and talking to EACH OTHER. No one has been stricken with any sickness or mental disease because they weren’t on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. And I have to say the first time I heard a grown man’s name associated with “Tweeting”, I laughed out loud.
So, ok, technology is here to stay, but can we seek a balance? Technology for work is one thing, but to be “liked” is another issue. Husbands and wives need face to face time to nurture, love, and protect their marriage. Children need face to face time with parents and step-parents to FEEL nurtured, loved, and protected. We ALL need face to face time with family, friends, and peers.
My request today is to ask you to take a step back and evaluate how much your day depends on other people’s “likes”. Do you honestly feel bad because your recently posted picture didn’t get the number or friends you think should “like” your post? Do you feel you “like” others, but they don’t “like” you as much? Oh, the minutes we spend on such things! They add up!
Social media has its place I know, but where is the balance, when do we say “take a break?” Yesterday my 17 year old grand-daughter explained to me what a “hashtag” was! I depend on Yahoo and Facebook for personal reasons as well as for marketing and promotion, but come Friday night until Monday morning, I am not available on the Internet. You need to call me. Have a blessed day…and yes I LIKE you! 😉