Social Media- Can it really compare to face-to-face interaction?

Can social media truly compare to face-to-face interaction? COVID-19 has led Americans to flip a lot of their social interaction from face-to-face to online. Over the past eight months, social media has helped make and keep connections. Video games and streaming platforms have connected people from all over the world creating tightnit friendships. The same applies for apps like instagram, although the question “Are you able to create a deeper connection with someone you have never met?” lingers in the air.

With software like FaceTime, Zoom and Skype it is extremely easy to host a video call with anyone who owns a device. With the right person a video call can feel like an in person conversation, making it easy to forget you have never met before. The same goes for instant or text messages. Being comfortable enough with someone to get past a surface level conversation is a remarkable feat, and for some it is easier to do this behind a screen.

On apps like TikTok and Youtube some content creators are known for “vlogging” or video-blogging. This consists of showing the details of your everyday life, like the viewer was running your errands with you. Many vloggers also use their videos as a space to talk about mental health, which is a step in the right direction of destigmatizing therapy, depression or other conditions in general. When hearing such intimate details of someone’s life it’s easy to think of them as a friend when in reality the content creator has no idea who you are.

While on some apps being your raw self is encouraged, on others like Instagram, VSCO and Snapchat masking who you are is standard. On these apps your explore page will be filled with the best of someone’s life. You are to present the best version of yourself otherwise you will stand out. The fear of being different pressures some to post pictures they may not necessarily be comfortable with, or repost something they may not understand.

While social media has its downfalls, it is overall a positive place. It can bring long time friends together or create new friendships. But one thing is for certain, this era of social media use will forever go down in the history of human relationships.