J-P Wooding: Three cheers for social media

Social media such as Facebook may come in for criticism, but J-P says it brings families together like never before
Social media such as Facebook may come in for criticism, but J-P says it brings families together like never before

There are benefits to having a physical conversation with someone but, as most of us realise, this isn’t always practical or even possible.

Despite the bad press that social media and technology gets for throttling the interaction between us due to increasing rates of smartphone and tablet use, it must be applauded for how it also brings family and friends closer than they may have ever been without it.

It is an old argument that as communications technology has advanced, so the physical links to people have lessened.

I dare say that when telephones became more and more present in general households it was an easier and quicker route to liaising with people than with the postal service.

With the advent of mobile phones text messages became the norm, at times even being used between people in the same house, or even the same room!

It may be seen as a tool promoting laziness but of course it proved, and still does, to be very useful to get you out of a situation.

As mobiles have evolved into smartphones capable of using social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the power of both the phones and similar technologies, together with social media, should be embraced.

I’ve written before about how important I feel it is that families spend time together as it doesn’t last long; I insist that we eat our evening meal together and talk about our individual “escapades” of the day.

It isn’t always possible of course with friends and family quite often separated by hundreds of miles.

What would have happened in the past? A phone call here and there, the occasional letter perhaps is the best we’d get.

Now we can see and hear each other over vast distances.

We can keep up to date with distant family members and their latest news, old school friends reunited after many years, with families themselves proudly showing photos that we may relate to.

Even passing on our condolences in the hope they will be of support to some.

Of course, there is a darker side to it, with unwanted attention from some and extreme comments and actions by others, but there are ways to deal with these occurrences.

We all have our own opinions about social media and its over-use by some, but for others it has huge benefits.

It wasn’t that long ago I remember as the clock struck 12am on New Year’s Day phone networks would lock up and crash under the strain placed upon it.

Many used to send messages in advance in the hope that the text would be received before the following afternoon!

This problem has been bypassed, in my own experience, by using the tools available.

While there is always a glut of messages adorning Facebook, it’s only once a year and, I believe, it is for a good reason.

We shouldn’t become short-sighted and ignore the importance of having a chat with someone, but it isn’t a case of choosing one or the other; the technology is there, so use it to your advantage.

Read more from J-P here.