How Social Media Has Made Me Socially Awkward

by Sabrina Dominique

I haven't answered my house phone since 1998.

I don't even think that's an exaggeration. I really cannot remember the last time I picked up that ancient thing. It's surprising that I even know people who own house phones. Since cell phones are basically extensions of our arms, it's usually the primary method of contact.

It's ironic that technological innovations meant to bring the world closer together have successfully allowed me to become the most awkward version of myself. In no way, shape or form do I feel more in touch with my fellow humans, which I believe is the basic goal of social media.

Sure, I know what everyone is eating and I know that some #TBT photos are better left in old photo albums, but what does that matter? Someone's #WomanCrushWednesday is not relevant to my life. Her "Outfit of the Day" really does nothing in terms of making me happy or a better person.

Nothing about anyone else's social media identity has anything to do with me. In that same note, none of my "followers" know anything real about me from my profiles.

They don't know my hopes and fears; they don't know what motivates me or where I want to be in five years. They only know that I post frequent selfies and tweet about "Game of Thrones" often. Based on this, they probably manifest a perception of me, which I'm sure is something along the lines of a narcissistic geek who drinks too much and is in love with Jon Snow.

My personality has become skewed based on social media. Yours has, too.

People don't seem concerned with substance anymore. Nothing is personal. While I mean that literally, I also mean it figuratively.

Oftentimes, when we're behind a little screen, it's hard to remember that there is a live human on the receiving end. It's easy to spitfire angry texts or leave hateful comments in the absence of emotional responses from other person.

I didn't realize how awkward I was in social situations until recently. Usually outspoken and sometimes downright idiotic around my close friends, I often find myself channeling my inner turtle and crawling into my proverbial shell around strangers.

Of course, I go out; I mingle and I'm polite. I can hold a conversation and occasionally, I make people laugh. My iPhone is never far away, though. Like a tiny shield, I busy myself on it whenever I'm alone, waiting in line or even (sadly) during night out.

It’s a form of dependency. At a dinner table, it's not an uncommon sight to see everyone on their phones. We've lost the ability to just simply be present.

When my phone rings, I'm actually quite startled. Who would call me instead of sending a text? I immediately imagine the worst kind of fatal accident as I answer with an awkward hello.

Social media is the villain. The crime? The forced and collective detachment of society from real life; we've lost our sense of curiosity and our sense of spontaneity.

We no longer keep things personal and it has become more difficult to enjoy each other. Even seemingly effortless, things like making eye contact have become foreign. How can we recognize each other without all of the Instagram filters? Better to avert the eyes.

This issue was not relevant to past generations. Conversations were face-to-face and there was no need to decipher text messages because they didn't exist. What can be done?

I'm as much of a slave to social media as the next gal, oftentimes relying on it more than I should. Like a junkie looking for a fix, it's often the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I see at night. I don't deny it.

But, what if we all took a step back and reminded ourselves that there's a whole, real life world that exists outside of our phones? That the sunrise looks better without a filter and that things are more enjoyable without a mobile device in our hands?

Maybe we would learn to let our batteries drain without panicking. Maybe we would be more concerned with substance than appearance. We might even stop looking away when someone makes eye contact.

Whatever, I probably still won't answer my house phone.

Photo via Tumblr