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SOCIAL MEDIA and RELATIONSHIPS

Studies show that a significant number of social networking website users spend more time with their online friends than they do with their offline friends.

ARTICLES | BY ULA NERAK

JULY 11, 2015

One of the biggest complaints against social media is that it shrinks people’s sense of relationship. It fosters the idea that relationships can be developed and ended easily. It creates a false sense of satisfaction and security among people. The effects can be seen in many people – especially young people – today.


One of the biggest advantages of social media is that it offers you instant gratification. You do not have to wait or strive for anything. Need to get in touch with someone? A tweet or a message will do. Need to let people know about your life? A mere status update is all it takes. Need to express your feelings toward someone or something that someone said? An acronym or a smiley face is more than enough!


Sadly, it is also one of the biggest disadvantages of social media. It creates a make-believe world where instant responses are the norm. Unfortunately, things do not work that way in real life.  You have to call the person you like and talk to them. You may have to send an email or a letter that conveys your feelings and emotions. Above all, you have to meet them in person and tell them how you feel. No smiley faces, no acronyms, and certainly no pokes, likes, or dislikes. You have to deal with real people, real emotions, and real feelings. It takes time, effort, and, most importantly, patience.


What it means is that when you want to take your relationship with an online contact to the next level, the first thing you need to do is step out of the social media circle and step into the real world.  Many people admit that they interact with people they would not otherwise interact with. Many people feel a voyeuristic pleasure in sharing their personal information with their online contacts. They feel an urge or need to update their status on social networking sites on a regular basis.


In some cases, people think of online relationships as a substitute for real life relationships. They are addicted to social media and have a virtually non-existent social life. They spend a lot of time online. Time that could be used to go out and form real relationships. Time that could be used to cultivate healthy habits. Time that could be spent with their loved ones. This is one of the main reasons why experts warn people against spending too much time on social networking websites.


Based on all these data, it is easy to come to the conclusion that social media is bad news for personal relationships. Surprisingly, it is not so.  Social media tools, if used the right way, can help you form and maintain real, long lasting relationships.  


Social media is an excellent tool that can help you learn new things, find new people, and form new relationships. At the same time, it is important to understand that it is the starting point, not the focal point of relationships.


At the end of the day, nothing can replace the human factor.

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