Does our online presence stop us from being present offline?

A frequent question within a world which is being so significantly influenced by social media.

I know very few people who don’t have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, an Instagram and Snapchat. In fact, I can only pinpoint one person which abstains from a few of these sites and even she maintains a Facebook presence. Admittedly, I check all of these accounts frequently throughout the day and I have been know to fall down an Instagram hole of stalking before I realise that a whole hour has passed. But is it worth the time? Probably not. I mean, I enjoy looking at pretty pictures as much as the next person but I do feel slightly guilty when I’ve spent 20 minutes scrolling through Facebook rather than reading the news- an education which is void of memes and cat videos.

So why am I so compelled to click back on these apps every time? To feel a bit more socially connected? To procrastinate whilst I know that there is something more important that I could be doing? A bit of both I think. Research has shown that frequent users of social media are more likely to experience depression yet contradictory research has shown that people’s online popularity reflects their offline popularity. Surely people with lots of friends offline can’t be turning to social media because they’re feeling lonely? Or can they…

I know that when I’m away from friends and family, social media allows me to feel more connected with them and allows me to share my experiences with them. That way, I don’t feel so alone even though they might be hundreds of miles away. Although I also realise that as I observe a video that I’m about to post on Snapchat through my phone, I can’t be fully taking in the present moment.

So, maybe there’s a balance to be struck. Appreciate the fact that social media allows us to remain in contact with people across distances and time spans that once seemed impossible whilst appreciating the importance of staying apart of the real moment.

Agree? Disagree? Join the debate.

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