How social media split the family
Recently, a friend showed her cellphone, with a despairing sigh. The screen was a mosaic of photos of a goggle-eyed infant, taken from every conceivable angle, sometimes holding chirpy, handwritten messages. “It’s frustrating my inbox!” she whispered, describing that 4 months earlier she had become a grandma to the baby, who lived in a various city. A decade back, that would have implied she only saw the child every month– state, over a vacation meal.
Not in 2015. In the past month, the doting parents have required to dispatching child photos to all their loved ones every day. And now– to her utter bewilderment– my friend has been asked to send text to the baby. The idea is that these “texts” can be published online to reveal that the grandparents are constantly thinking about their new grand son, and hence allow the household to “connect”.
Families hardly ever moved from one little town to another. Social media, consisting of Facebook and Skype have changed a fast check out round the corner to grandmother.
It is a peculiarly 21st-century problem. As anthropologists and linguists understand well, the method that human households define themselves and communicate with each other has actually changed various times over the millennia. The past decade has produced a shift in the pattern of family communications that is more extreme and speedy than anything seen before.
Never mind the fact that the internet has unexpectedly linked the entire world; mobile phones and social media have actually allowed us all to vanish into cyber space, colliding and connecting– however we pick. A builder who offered loft conversion in St. Albans 60 years ago might expect his sons to follow him into the family business. They might learn joinery, plumbing or electronics, marry in St Albans and the grandpa loft conversion expert would see his grandchildren most days of the week. These days, the chances are that at least one of his children will move to Spain or the USA and they will probably not be building roof extensions in Los Angeles.
For many individuals, this shift seems frightening. Last month, for instance, Newmarket Holidays, among the UK’s biggest tour operators, carried out a survey of grandparents that showed that just three-quarters thought that their relationship with their grandchildren was different from the relationship they had with their own grandparents– which more than half feel that the trouble in sharing Christmas traditions is because of video game taking the attention of their grandchildren.
The social media was developed for social reasons but has become another area for Internet Marketing. A family lawyer in Barnet a few years ago would have been happy with a website but nowadays it is more a matter of integrated internet marketing. Legally oriented comments on his website posts and discussions on his family law Facebook page or news updates about divorce law on Twitter all seem to be counted by the search engines. The search engines look to social media signals to determine engagement on the Internet and therefore this has an effect on positioning on SERPs.
Studies in the US reflect this concern. Between half and two-thirds of grownups today state that kids are too obsessed with social networks, and fear that the fast expansion of electronic gizmos is creating a more individualistic, pushed away society. It is little wonder, then, that one of the fastest-growing classifications of self-help books is the one which informs individuals how to keep social connections.
As Boyd points out, what youngsters are doing online today is just an extension of exactly what they utilized to do in the real world. Now that this has been curtailed by protective parents, children are roaming in cyber area rather.
Adjusted from a post in the Financial Times