You send a text to a friend to ask a question. Hours pass. You check your phone again to make sure the message delivered. Later, you’re scrolling through Instagram and see that your friend posted a photo three minutes ago. You pause and wonder, ‘Did they see my text? What did I do to make this person ignore me? Am I annoying them? Why won’t they respond to me?’ You suddenly find yourself drowning in doubts and fears when in reality, you’re most likely worried about nothing.
Social media and technology have transformed how we communicate and interact with one another. As opposed to a world just a few decades ago in which people would wait weeks for a response to a letter, all we have to do now is send a quick message, wait for it to say “Read,” and wonder what’s taking so long for the person to respond.
“From what I see, most people are on their phones on a date or out with friends rather than actually talking to them. I believe face-to-face human interaction is disappearing.” senior Renae Knisley said.
Living in an age of subtweets and passive aggressive posts can make it difficult to understand a person’s tone as it was intended when communicating electronically. We tend to overanalyze every minor detail and create an unnecessary drama out of something simple.
“Sometimes I reply in short sentences because I’m busy, but the other person will believe I am angry at them,” senior Iris Duan said. “I turned off my read receipts because I never respond to texts when I see them. Normally, I wait until I’m less busy unless it’s a live conversation.”
Social media in itself is not inherently harmful to relationships. it can be a great way to reach out to friends all over the world, help companies grow their businesses or start campaigns that can make a difference.
“I am able to communicate with my friends anywhere, so I think [social media] is a good thing,” freshman Ian Okan said. “Whenever I want to talk with a friend, I can easily do it through Instagram, Snapchat or messages.”
However, the best way to settle disputes that begin over text or social media is to take matters offline.
“If something is taken out of context or misunderstood, talk to the person face-to-face,” Knisley said. “It’s better to confront your problems than to get angry over something that may or may not have been [intentional].”
Everything is good in moderation, including social media. The easiest way to reduce the negative effects of social media is to simply control how much you use it.
“Personally, I believe technology is a tool. It depends on how you use it,” Duan said. “Social media is a huge part of society in the 21st century, and its imprint is up to us.”