Balancing social media and face to face conversation is never an easy thing to do. Not when our smart phones are fully charged with data subscription.

It Actually takes a lot of discipline and character, to stay away from your smart phone especially when you’ve recently just updated your status or posted something on your timeline.

Social media interaction is a virtual form of interaction. Virtual, meaning it’s not real, but has the same qualities of the real.

Most of us, especially the Generation Next, (those between 18 and 25 years), Generation X (those between 26-40 years ) and partly the Baby Booms (between 4-60 years).

These set of individuals can rarely go a day without login to one social media platform or the other. Constantly, hooked on social media, replying, liking, re-tweeting. It’s like an addiction! Staying hooked, 24/7 like junkies.

Nowadays, nothing affects relationships and conversation more like social media does, it distances us and cuts key elements of interpersonal  communication.

Communication on social media is superficially devoid of all the facial cues, gestures, body language and intimacy that face to face conversation offers.

Sadly, on social media face to face conversation is replaced with chat via hand held devices and computers. We hide our real feeling, while on social media by using emoticons. For instance I can easily send a smiley when I’m actually angry or sad.

Communication on social media is grand deception!

Who else read about the suicidal girl that concealed her true feeling from her mom during a chat, shortly before the attempted suicide? The story is about a mother Sharon Seline, who often exchanged text messages with her daughter, who was away at college. One day, they “chatted” normally, with mom asking how things were going and daughter answering with positive statements followed by emoticons of smileys and hearts. Later that night, the daughter attempted suicide. The signs of depression were there, which could only have been interpreted through face-to-face communications and the sharing of her emotional state. But, social media helped concealed the signs.

You see, the suicidal girl was chatting with the mom as if she is doing fine and happy, using emoticons to hide her true state. Consequently, the facial cues and signs that would have being observed in a face to face conversation was not possible.

This is one way social media is negatively affecting and disrupting real interaction. Another way is, how it helps create suspicion and puts strain on relationships.

Most people often sneak to check the social media accounts of their partner. Admit it, I’m guilty of this too. ??

You are suspecting whether your partner is chatting/cheating with someone else, checking to see who liked their posts and whose posts they liked. Social media amplifies our suspicion and jealousy.

How about a scenario where a couple together in the same room are rather glued to their smart phones checking social media or chatting and ignoring one another rather than seizing the time to have a real communication. Doing Social media without control destroys the very essence of communication.

If we don’t take control of our smart phones and Social Media interaction, a lot about our social life will be negatively affected. Especially relationships. Relationships is the worst hit, since the social media disruption.

Well, the era of digital everything is upon us, and it comes with it a lot of benefits and also demerits. We need to constantly identify and deal with the demerits while we enjoy the benefits. The key word therefore, is moderation and being-deliberate. Let’s not be naive about how we use new technologies and social media.

Apparently, by nature, they are designed to disrupt already existing ways of doing things. In this case healthy relationships and communication between humans.


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