Social media impacts interpersonal communication in many ways

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Kelly Lamano
Co-Editor

After permanently deleting my Facebook account this past summer, I have found myself sitting around and sulking in my room, not quite knowing what to do with myself since I am no longer connected with all of my “friends” from the social media site.

I’m kidding, of course.

But my real friends teased me for months afterward since they were skeptical about how I was going to stay in the loop and know what was going on if I wasn’t connected to the cyber world.

Surprisingly, not much has changed. I find myself being more productive without the distraction of logging in every couple of hours, or minutes, and checking those notifications.

While it was convenient for group projects, spamming the news feed with a friend or making plans, I realize I can do all of that just the same without the use of Facebook.

Facebook makes its users get comfortable with screen to screen conversations as opposed to face to face.

Sure, there’s a video chat feature, but Facebook strives to keep you connected by bugging you with a sidebar to wish a friend you knew in middle school “Happy Birthday!” or to write on someone’s timeline to reconnect.

The site has made users dependent on messages, wall posts and chat, interfering with the way we interact with people in the real world.

I think that Facebook has made users more socially awkward and shy.

I have a few friends who rely on the site to have serious conversations with other people and will not do so unless it’s through a text or Facebook message.

They have become so comfortable with typing away their thoughts that they forget what it’s like to have a conversation with someone in person.

Users are more likely to divulge an intimate secret with someone in a Facebook chat conversation than face to face because it’s so convenient and accessible.

There’s a record of the chat in a message history, but that can easily be forgotten or deleted whereas a face to face conversation or someone’s facial expression will stick with that person forever.

It’s more difficult to confront someone in person, but it is better to see someone’s reaction and hear his or her words in person to settle a dispute than for the issue to linger or be misunderstood.

With text messaging and Facebook, language has become incredibly open-ended.

It gives the recipient the control to interpret the message the way he or she wants to, based on the rules of using emoticons, capitalization, what words are stressed and so on.

It is easy to misinterpret someone because he or she read the message wrong since they did not hear it for themselves.

Facebook is also a more permanent way of expressing your thoughts.

Someone can read a message over and over again, dwelling or finding new ways of interpreting the situation whereas if he or she had the conversation face to face, that person can only reflect on what was heard or said in that moment.

Since the social media site gives you instant access to a user’s account, it gives you the freedom of taking a peek into their past, leaving little to the imagination.

All those questions you had about their old life or what their family was like will be answered through a few minutes of Facebook stalking, unless the user is cautious with what he or she posts.

The site has affected our interpersonal communication.

However, being disconnected from Facebook for seven months now has taught me that life does go on and I can make as many friends walking down to Tutu’s as I did when I added someone on Facebook.

I was a fairly shy person before attending college, and Facebook made it convenient to add a classmate for homework questions or to simply make a new friend.

I limited those that I accepted, but I did become reliant on it for arranging plans and important conversations.

Once I deleted my Facebook, something clicked and I was no longer as shy as I once was. I also became more direct when I needed to confront someone.

I’ve always been a person that loves to get to know and study people, but I became more social and extended myself more once I deleted my account.

While I’m not trying to persuade anyone to permanently delete their Facebook, I would encourage people to rely on it less and socialize better without the use of it.

It’s easy and convenient to get to know someone on a surface level with all of the photos, statuses, quotations and posts.

In the end, it’s your choice to unfriend or make the effort with those friends outside of the cyber world.