The Depth of a Hashtag

In continuation to my post about the beautiful weather that New York City had on Tuesday, I’d like to include more details on some recent observations I have made.

On Tuesday night, as I was walking with my sister down 3rd Avenue from the 86th Street entrance of Central Park, I noticed that we were both mindlessly documenting the amazing run we just had. Both she and I were uploading post-run photos onto Instagram and Twitter, then waiting and watching as the wave of “likes” came rushing in. We even asked each other our opinions before posting.

At first, I didn’t comment on the fact that we were doing this. I didn’t think twice about it. It was just a normal thing to do. Not until hours later when I kept checking back on my photos and status updates, did I realize how involved I was with social media.

In all honesty, I’m the type of person who is in denial of a current fad. I subtly refuse to give into the popular websites (aside from Facebook). I can shamelessly admit that only recently have I truly gained a greater understanding towards the impact of hashtags. I never fully grasped the concept of a hashtag. I thought that Twitter was so silly at first. I often said to myself, “Why do we need another website to update your status when you can just do that on Facebook?” I have repeatedly created and deleted my Twitter account approximately 3 or 4 times because I didn’t see the purpose of it. I can finally say that I have the hang of it now (for the most part).

Originally, I didn’t even know that Instagram was a form of social media. I just thought that it was an application to help make my pictures look pretty due to the lack of strong camera quality that my poor, little iPhone 3 had to offer. I never labeled my photos, followed anyone, or used hashtags to connect myself to other Instagram users. I just wanted my pictures to look less crappy and also make myself feel slightly artsy (I’m totally not)

Only recently have I signed up for Pinterest, and even with that, I haven’t had a chance to look through it because I’m too lazy to filter my interests.

Then comes SnapChat, which I got quickly bored with. Why did I need to individually send people pictures of the random day-to-do activities I’m partaking in? I can just send a mass photo-upload to Facebook or Twitter.

We are so consumed in these various social media sites that it takes up hours and hours of our day just to upload photos and statuses, look through our news feed, like, comment, and do all the other things that these sites have to offer. I have even noticed lately that I come home to my apartment to go on my computer even more after I have already been on the computer all day at work.

I catch myself purposely interrupting my life just to post about my life. Why do people even care? Why do we need to know so much about people’s whereabouts? It’s information overload. With a simple click on Google’s search engine, we are yielded with an overabundance of information on just about anything from potatoes to who Adam Levine is currently dating. It’s very overwhelming.

I recently caught up on Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother”, which is my favorite show and I will often reference scenes from episodes. In one episode on Season 7, there was scene where the characters were sitting together at a bar, not even speaking to each other. They were just looking at their phones. Then, it flashed back to about 6 or 7 years ago, before the introduction to smart phones and the massive spike in social media websites. In the flashback scene, they were sitting together at the bar, laughing, talking, and having a good time with just each other’s mere presence.

How did hanging out with friends become so impersonal? I saw a Facebook status update of a friend who somehow had an entire conversation with her boyfriend only using “Meme“, which for those of you who don’t know, are random pictures with a statement that’s usually humorous and relates to a certain cultural stereotype- see below for example)

theoffice

We have the ability to constantly communicate with someone without using a single spoken word. It’s mad! I’m not cynical nor am I opposed to social media. Clearly, I am an active social media user. At this very moment, I am using WordPress to document these current thoughts going through my head. It’s just a shame that we have become desensitized to getting to know a person organically.

Where do we even go from here?

I fear for the future and wonder about the ripple effects of this glitch in verbal communication. I guess for now all I can say is Happy Posting!

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