What’s Better? Being Social in Reality or Being Social Online
Socializing IRL (in real life) is something that people have done less in the last eighteen months due to Covid restrictions that prevented them from engaging with others in person. Instead, they have turned to social media to mingle with other people and satisfy their human need for interaction.
However, more people are starting to realize that socializing online is a poor substitute for the real thing. Others have taken to it and do not see themselves doing as much IRL socializing in the future. Which option is better?
Lost people skills
Engaging in an online social life requires fingers and thumbs flying across the keyboard, firing off message after message. While you might become an expert at this, other skills are suffering, such as engaging in face-to-face conversations. This is especially prevalent among teens, who engage with apps and social media more than other age groups. Their parents are turning to How to Delete to find out how to cancel or delete some apps their children use, including Audible, TikTok, and Facebook Messenger.
This worrying trend does not bode well for society’s future, where young adults enter the workforce and must interact with customers, colleagues, and supervisors. Those with poor interpersonal skills are unlikely to get very far in the world of work.
Once people log onto a social media account or use any app on their phones, they lose track of the world around them. It allows them to forget about their responsibilities, such as household chores or homework, and lose themselves in a virtual world.
Parents of teens find this concerning as their children seem oblivious to their surroundings. However, before pointing the finger, many need to examine their own habits, which are equally destructive. Children feel they cannot get their parents’ attention due to online socializing. Maintaining an active online social life inevitably leads to neglecting an IRL social life. People spend less time engaging with friends and family, playing games with them, or sitting around the dinner table and chatting.
A license to misbehave
Most social media users are guilty of saying things online that they would never say in person. However, as the lines between online social life and socializing IRL become blurred, it seems that people are becoming inconsiderate of others’ feelings.
Online socializing is dangerous when users start offering hurtful comments that cause emotional damage to others. In extreme cases, negative comments have led people to self-harm, with some attempting or committing suicide. Empathy is an essential component of humanity and spending less time online, and more IRL should restimulate it.
Reading body language
A school of thought stipulates that when receiving communication from someone, only 7% of what they wish to convey comes from the words they speak. The other 93% comes from their voice tone and volume, facial expression, and body language. People often end up in disagreements over messages as there was a miscommunication because words alone are not enough to say what we mean.
Engaging with people IRL teaches others how to read the other factors mentioned above that go into communication. Socializing online prevents this as words are all they have to say something.
In today’s world, socializing online is a reality you cannot afford to ignore. However, it should not consume all your time, leaving none for IRL interaction. The best approach is to do both but strike a balance between the two.
Experts agree that you should not engage in more than 50% of your socializing online. Indeed, they prefer that IRL socializing dominates online activities. They hope this will become possible again once life returns to pre-pandemic circumstances.