Is Social Media Ruining Your Social Life?

Evan Forester —  March 30, 2012

Social Media has clearly revolutionized the way we interact with the world. We can literally connect with hundreds of millions of people in seconds. Their purpose is to help you engage with the world, but research is showing that social media actually has a negative affect on our social lives.

Check out this news story:

Now, we love Social Media around here. The hashtag in our name obviously shows that, but we do need to remember what is truly important. It has been said that we are the most connected generation of all-time, but we are also the most lonely.

Social Media Outposts

The reason for that is simple: social media cannot replace real relationships. Relationship happens best when people actually come together and are face to face. Twitter, google+ hangouts, facetime, pinterest, nothing can replace true relationship.

The danger with social media is that we spend so much time connecting through wall posts and pokes that we fail to connect with the people we are actually with. For instance, my wife and I often find ourselves sitting together staring at computer screens instead of connecting with each other.

That’s not just cool. And it certainly isn’t the full life.


1) How much time do you spend on Social Media per day?

2) What relationships in your life, if any, suffer because of Social Media?

3) How can you use social media to benefit your relationships and not hurt them?

Evan Forester

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This post was by Evan, an adventure enthusiast learning to #LiveFully in New Zealand. He now writes for Embracing Exile.

3 responses to Is Social Media Ruining Your Social Life?

  1. This distinction between “real” and “virtual” world fails to understand the way that individuals seamlessly integrate the two and use online tools to enhance “offline” relationships.

    It is important to to note the positive benefits of social media and internet use (which they touched on only lightly in the video) for example, we know that internet use is correlated positively with two cognitive measures and one self esteem measure in children and that children who use the internet are NOT any less likely to engage in outdoor activities are are MORE likely to engage in reading (not including online reading). It is also correlated with higher test scores and grades in students. (This is, of course, all controlling for SES and other potentially interfering variables.)

    What is interesting is that similar concerns have arisen throughout history such as when the phone was invented. People were concerned not only with privacy, but also with the assumption that face-to-face relationships would suffer – an argument most of us today would never even think to make.

    PEW has some interesting data on how social media use increases social support -

    I am also really uncomfortable with your assertion that the “best” relationships are offline relationships first because it lacks actual evidence and secondly, because it fails to actually address the benefits and losses that each (yes, even “real world” relationships) each have. Anecdotally, I have several online relationships that provide meaning and support in areas that my face-to-face friends don’t provide support in because of social norms and stigma about what is and is not appropriate within given cultures to discuss.

    • Good point about building online relationships. I have met a couple people with similar experiences. We’re certainly not saying it is a bad thing, and I think it definitely can increase social support. That is what it is meant to do!

      I think the problems begin when we become too extreme with it. This, of course, is the case with most things in life.

  2. In an effort to build my on-line business, I’m finding out that I need to spend more time on-line to generate and network on-line. For me, it takes me away from my family and the time I need to take pictures or write poetry. The relationships with my family suffer the most, which is why I’m trying to type a quick comment and then go join my family to watch a movie with them. I use social media to encourage my friends, to pray for them, to let people know who live hundreds of miles away what is happening in my life, and to stay connected or get re-connected with high school, youth group, college and long-distance friends and family. I feel like I’m more a part of their lives but I have to closely monitor my time on social media. It’s always a challenge, but one I’m working hard to give proper balance.