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Social media: the good, bad and the ugly

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By Bryan Marshall

Social media can be an extremely valuable tool.
You can keep up with that old friend from high school that you haven’t seen in years on Facebook.
People can make lost connections with family members.
News updates fly furiously second-by-second on Twitter.
Photographs can be shared and even LIKED.
However, as new social media is thought up everyday, we lose the actual human interactions that make relationships special.
We also see that for every benefit of social media, there is a flaw that can’t be denied.
In theory and in small doses, I have no issue with social media like Facebook or Twitter.
I know there are a million others, but I am not cool enough to use Snapchat or whatever latest trend has popped into cyberspace.
My issue is two-fold, the overuse and over-reliance of social media and the necessity some people feel to share everything.
This past week, Facebook was shut down for awhile unexpectedly.
You would have thought the apocalypse had come to take us all.
Panicked people did not know what to do without the ability to update their status and LIKE the fact that their grandma enjoyed her lunch, which she happily also posted a photo of for all to see.
Police in Los Angeles even received multiple 911 calls alerting police that Facebook was down, wondering what did it mean and when would it return?
Of course, Facebook’s momentary absence drove people to Twitter to post theories about what was going on.
If people can’t survive a few hours without Facebook, what has the world come to?
I know it is hard to imagine a world without social media, but does it have to control our lives?
Nowadays if anyone has a thought, instead of gathering with friends and discussing the issues of the day or even gossiping, it is more likely to wind up on the Internet as a post.
That brings me to my other point.
We have all seen those Facebook users who somehow, even with jobs or schools to tend to, seemingly post or comment every five minutes.
I don’t care if you are the president, a NBA star or the most interesting person in the world, no one should care about your every move, your every feeling and your every meal that much.
I don’t know if they forget that people can see what they type or if they are just bored, but over sharing is an issue that needs to be fixed.
Social media also provides some users with a sense of invincibility where they feel like they can say anything they want because they are all alone behind a computer or phone.
It is hard to believe that the same hurtful, offensive comments would be made if a person was face to face with the one they were slandering on the Internet.
Message boards, probably one of the first forms of social media, are the worst culprit of this.
Unless you are required to register with an actual name or through Facebook, it is fair game to pretty much say what you want about whoever you want with little to no consequences.
Sounds cowardly to me.
I know I may sound whiny or nit-picky and as a 35-year-old, maybe this is my version of “Get off my lawn.”
I am not saying social media is the devil like some extremist.
I just think people’s priorities should not be staying at a screen several hours in a day when they could be out actually living in this world.
Put down the phone.
Get your hands off the keyboard.
Enjoy hanging with friends and family and getting the most out of this world.
When the day is over, just make sure to post the pictures so we can all see, too.

(Bryan Marshall is the staff writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at bmarshall@grantky.com.)