RUNNING HEAD: KniesDestruction of Relationships via Social Networking Hannah KniesEnglish 201February 1st, 2018 Saul Bellow describes amour propre as the territory invaded by picture takers. He states that we are all way to familiar with it because of the great romantic writers of the nineteenth century. He states in “Graven Images” that “often your privacy is to them a cover for the lies and manipulations of amour propre.” One of my good friends, Juel, is rather obsessed with social media and portraying her life in the view of the public eye. Because of her decision to post everything on these social networking sites it lead to the demise of several of her relationships, including her boyfriends and a couple close friends of ours. Twitter was particularly a big issue because she was always on her phone making extraneous comments, such as “just woke up this morning” or “I just fell down a flight of stairs.” Things that didn’t need to be made public she would seem to showcase everywhere. For example, her and her boyfriend Luke were fighting and she posted screenshots on every social media platform there was. There is a time and place for social media and to express your thoughts online. However, the world does not care what you had for breakfast this morning and if your cat climbed a tree. There is a lot of pros to social media and the Internet in general but there is a healthy line between celebrating community information online, and keeping a truly valuable moment private and personal. Everyone wants to be heard, included, and valued and social media validates a lot of that, and used in concurrence with your offline life, it can be a rewarding experience. But when it starts replacing real life, we start missing the moments and posting it on social media instead of just enjoying what life truly is, a moment in time that engages our senses and deserves all our attention. Juel is my best friend and I love her dearly but just because we are close does not mean that I agree with all of her actions. She destroyed most of her relationships including ours due to her obsession with social media. Most people can agree that they have posted a comment or a story on a social networking site and they have regretted it because it made them look foolish. Comments alone on social media can start arguments betweens friends/lovers/family/etc. “According to a recent Kaspersky Lab study 42 percent of people admit to feeling jealous about what their friends are posting online and 58 percent get upset if somebody posts photos or information they don’t want made public. So imagine the impact this all has on a romantic relationship.” “Me and Luke just got in a massive argument because he wanted Mexican and I wanted Chinese.” These are the types of messages Juel would broadcast all over her social media. She would constantly degrade the people closest to her in order to make herself look better. It makes you wonder why people suddenly care what others think about them. Saul Bellow would say that photography, digital imagery, etc plays a non-important role in your life but it is useful when it is not taken advantage of. People nowadays take photos to manipulate one another. To broadcast their life to the world and make them explain things that don’t need to be explained. On that same note, a photograph could be very rewarding if you want to cherish a memory forever. There is so many good things that could be done with photography and social media but when you let it fall in the wrong hands is when a bunch of issues will arise. This was Juel’s downfall, always caring what others thought about her and what people view her as. Her fascination with social media reached an all time high when Luke asked her out on a date and she denied saying that “Post Malone is about to release a series of tweets precisely at 9:01 pm and she couldn’t miss them.” That was the breaking point for most of us but what really put the nail in her coffin is when we all went to a party and one of our friends was changing in the background and Juel broadcasted a live video degrading her saying that “this is what a cow looks like when its changing.” I eventually forgave Juel for her actions because she wrote a very sincere apology and decided to give up her social media sites. I believe she came to the realization of her actions because she finally understood what she did was wrong and she had nobody to turn too. No boyfriend, no friends, no family. She was alone. I believe that most people’s fascination with exposure comes from the fact that they are degrading someone else and not themself. They are turning people’s attention toward a person who may or may not have done something wrong or embarrassing. That way no one will remember what they did. For example, Juel loved to be in the public eye. She would constantly find something “juicy” about a person, broadcast it, and then everyone would go look at that person’s drama for the day. However, what Juel gained from that is hundreds of followers and always having people look up to her to throw someone else under the bus. People gain satisfaction from exposing people, whether that be there insecurities, biggest fears, etc. They are stuck in the mindset that they will be “cool” if they bully someone else. Constantly being on social media damages relationships as couples are seeing other people’s posts and photos of their lives, instead of spending time with their own families. Then they wonder why their family life isn’t as perfect as their friends lives as they see it on social media. This was represented in “A Death on Facebook” so vividly and I believe that everyone can relate to that reading. Social media was invented to keep people in close contact; maybe with an ex-coworker, or a friend that moved across the country but now it is just a place to destroy and expose someone else. People seem to get a sense of relief when someone else’s reputation is being ruined and not theirs. Have you ever noticed how many “prevent bullying” sites and campaigns there are and how they all talk about how their main attack is on social media. I remember a movie that was released in 2011 called “Cyberbully” and it was a very powerful movie and I strongly believe that it should be shown to kids everywhere! It explains/shows how words are more hurtful when said online because a group of people will back them up and they feel no remorse because they are saying it through a computer screen. This movie is truly a masterpiece because it shows everyone’s fascination with exposing others. Another consideration is that there is a time change, Saul Bellow wrote Graven Images, 21 years ago when technology advancements were just being made. In 1997, people were communicating face to face and talking about their problems and today people just go to the internet for solutions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out at a restaurant or a public event and I see couples on their phones. We are all addicted to our phones and soon, we may actually forget how to meet people in real life. You’re lying to yourself if you don’t get pumped when you reach a new all time high on likes on your latest Instagram post. All the notifications, comments, likes, and follows are making our brains addicted to attention. In my personal life, my sister and I are the only people in our family that have social media accounts. My family is very personal, we have strict rules, like no phones at the dinner table, no phones during quality time, look at me when I am talking to you, etc. It is crazy to me to learn that people are so attached to their phone. I once witnessed a classmate have a panic attack because the teacher confiscated her phone. I understand that social media is interesting, but when did it start to consume our everyday life? A review study from Nottingham Trent University looked back over earlier research on the psychological characteristics, personality and social media use. The authors conclude that “it may be plausible to speak specifically of ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder’ because addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use social networks excessively.” (They also found that the motivation for people’s excessive use of social networks differs depending on certain traits—introverts and extroverts use it for different reasons, as do people with narcissistic traits.) All of the statistics and data are showing that social media is addictive and destroying relationships but people still continue to broadcast their life that way, but I will pass on that opportunity!