Students favor online relationships

Story by Baker Orange Editorial Board

In today’s society where face-to-face relationships have been replaced with online interactions, it’s hard to make real friendships anymore. According to Pew Research, 74 percent of online adults use social media networking sites, the most popular of which is Facebook.

While we can’t necessarily say social media is an end-all, be-all, we can’t help but wonder the effect it is having on our interpersonal relationships.

With social media platforms, users can pick and choose the best parts about themselves to put in a Tinder bio, and only the most attractive picture for a “prof pic,” but is that a very accurate representation of who they are as a person?

The problem then comes from the social capital we place on our social media profiles. Users, albeit unconsciously, tell themselves they are only as good as their social media profiles. Despite the number of friends we might have in person, we only feel appreciated when we have over 60 likes on an Instagram picture.

Many could argue that phones are just means of distraction, filling time between classes or during a particularly boring lecture. But the addiction to one’s phone can be a real problem for some users.

Social media decreases the amount of face-to-face interactions we have in our daily lives. It’s easier to justify staying in for a night when there’s a mobile phone right next to us.

But is chatting online a substitute for an actual conversation? Is a right-swipe on Tinder just as good as going out on an actual date or even having a real conversation?

As college students, we have a lot going on and it’s sometimes easier to send a few Facebook messages instead of actually going out to meet some friends. At some point, though, our phone won’t be able to give us the same comfort a real relationship will. Maybe that realization happens sooner rather than later.

By creating a likeable persona on social media, some users feel better about themselves. A Baylor University study reports that women, on average, spend 10 hours a day on their phones while their male counterparts only spend eight. If we look at it this way, there are still roughly 14 whole hours in a day that are spent off the phone. Granted, at least seven are spent asleep (except during finals week).

Realistically, no matter how long one spends on the phone, people are at some point going to see the “real” person behind the computer screen.

We aren’t saying to get rid of your social media accounts, but think long and hard before you embellish here and untag yourself in a picture there. Be the person you actually are on your social media accounts and remember that you are more than just a like or a right-swipe.