[image by Hawthorne Ave]
Can social media use be a hindrance to effectively transitioning to next stages of life?
I don’t know, but it’s something I’m exploring.
This question was rooted in a conversation I was having a few weeks back with Lars Rood and the parents of seniors who will be heading off to college next year. What we have noticed is that some college students fail to effectively transition into college, and that one possible considerations is that social media use has hindered them from effectively being present, setting down roots in their physical community. Instead, social media tools like Facebook keep them engaged with high school friends in different states in different schools. And that’s a really good thing of course. I wish I had Facebook when I was in college. So though I don’t want to draw a conclusion that failure to transition is a direct causal of social media use (it’s not), I think it does affect our relational and social interactions.
So sometimes, instead of investing in the person in the dorm room next door, they are more concerned with what their friend from high school is doing on Facebook.
Can social media use keep us tied to, or concerned about other things, that instead of not only helping us build relationships with those not physically near us…..it can also have the unintended affect of not allowing us to fully invest in the next stages of our lives? Stages that involve the participation and support of the community around us.
This question I have is not limited to the high school to college transition either. It could be singlehood to marriage? It’s possible to get married, but with Facebook keep up with all the happenings of our single friends, and very subtly, and subconsciously we can be holding onto that previous stage of our life, not fully embracing the present one. There are other transitions as well, but these two come to mind the quickest.
Transition in its very essence involves a process of transformation, and often transformation requires a leaving of something, and a cleaving onto something else.
Can I properly leave something and transition into something new, if I’m still cleaving to the old?
And social media not only allows great things, and fosters friendships with those we can’t be near, but I wonder if it keeps us cleaving to things, hindering us from fully living in our physical surroundings.
I’m seeking some some clarity…
Remember, I think social media is awesome, but I’m thinking about it’s very nuanced and subtle unintended outcomes it can have on our relational, social interactions.
Examples of where you agree or disagree with me?