Social media, or more specifically, the use of mobile phones as an access point to social media, is no doubt an ongoing topic of discussion in the modern era. We check Facebook in the morning whilst still wrapped up in the bed sheets to see what we’ve missed out on over a period of 8 hours. We use Instagram to take pictures of blasé objects and cuisine to share amongst online communities. We have developed an addiction to making our whereabouts known (take Snapchat for example), and subsequently, an addiction to knowing where others are and what they are doing. This obsession has been dramatically intensified through social media.
Before electronic devices were always within a palm’s reach, humans experienced intimacy solely in person; physically connecting with one another and immersing themselves wholly in the social atmosphere created by the presence of others. It is now possible to experience ‘close familiarity and friendship’ through a phone screen via social media networks, whereby people, although physically distant, can feel as though they are present in ‘the now’; connecting with and constantly updating each other on current happenings.
I myself, am a culprit; checking my phone regularly throughout lectures, television programs, downtime, dinners and other social activities. Sometimes, I do this subconsciously with no intended purpose for my scrolling. This became truly apparent to me after I left my phone in my mum’s car, to which she had taken to work that morning. Moving my hand over the pocket of my beloved khaki jacket in search of the familiar rectangular shape, my heart skipped a beat. I panicked, knowing full well that my phone was safe and would return to me by the end of the day.
My phone was not gone forever, it was not even missing or misplaced… it was just, distanced? Even so, I felt like a part of me was missing, and so began to think extravagant thoughts. What if there was an emergency and someone needed me to help? What if someone noticed that my Facebook status read ‘active 8 hours ago’ and thought that something had happened to me? Would my mum go through my phone and find something she didn’t like? My phone can’t be in the hands of another! It just can’t! Ridiculous – never once had I thought about anything of this nature.
Returning from work that evening, mum placed my treasured iPhone 6s; contained within a white phone case encrusted with depictions of dogs (I’m a freak, I know), into my hot little hand. But what was the first thing I checked? Not missed calls, not distressed messages, but my social media accounts for photos that had been shared that day by my friends. Really Kate?