Why My Generation Has No Social Skills

7-Tips-for-Generating-leads-from-Social-Skills As a 16 year old girl, I have never lived in a world without social media. Although I do love my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Yik Yak, Snapchat, Tumblr, and I could go on, it is the reason why my generation does not know how to talk. I mean, yes, we do talk, a lot actually, but I mean, really talk. WE. DON’T. HAVE. SOCIAL SKILLS. I’ll define social skills as this: being able to have intelligent (sometimes) conversations with one another, face-to-face, not behind a 4.7-inch display screen.

We, as in my generation, can talk a lot of crap and confess a lot of love behind a keyboard. How many of these conversations do you think would be done face-to-face? Almost none. I’m not going to lie, I do it, too. Who doesn’t? Given, I got my first desktop when I was 10, my first cell phone when I was 12, my first laptop when I was 14. Social Media was pushed upon us. It was new. It was cool. It was easy. And it still is. The average teenager spends 7.5 hours of his or her day on his or her cell phone, computer, or other electronic device accessing social media. And we didn’t (and still don’t) know any better. We didn’t have to learn how to use social media like the rest of you. We grew up with social media. We were growing as Facebook was growing. I watched Twitter turn into a phenomenon within weeks of it being downloaded onto my phone. I watched as Instagram went from pointless to the most popular app on the app store.

My generation is known as “Generation Y,” or the “Social Media Generation,” and unfortunately, just because of the generation we were born in, we already have a negative connotation towards us. We are obsessed with Social Media and we are obsessed with technology. It has its perks, but it definitely has its down falls. Employers tend to think that we aren’t work oriented, or that we’re distracted easily, but we also have an electronic edge to us that gives us an advantage. We know the field, we know how to reach younger audiences and we know our way around a computer, or just about any electronic device.

gen y

Social Media is my life and that is great, but somewhat unfortunate. Because when we get older and have “big kid” jobs, we won’t know what to say. We won’t know how to act. We won’t have social skills. I won’t just blame it on us, I guess. Even adults are doing it now. “E-Harmony,” “Catholic Singles,” “Match.com,” people are now too afraid to go talk to other people, so they have to do it through the internet! Social Media is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but when my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles were young, they had no such thing! But, now, it consumes us.

Everyone, including you adults reading this right now who don’t think this applies to you, need to UN-PLUG! I’m not talking about sitting your phone down for 20 minutes, I’m talking about instead of sending that text or that tweet, give someone a call, meet them for lunch, anything! I’m pleading with you to do something that is very unlikely, almost impossible. No one is going to do that, why call and talk to someone or have a face-to-face conversation when you can text someone the same thing. Doing so, avoiding all possibilities of confrontation, of awkwardness. Isn’t that really the root of the problem? We don’t want to talk to people. We’re too afraid. Once again, my generation is lacking social skills. Something that is becoming less and less necessary due to technology and social media.

Although this is happening, although social skills are becoming less needed, I can’t help but think that we still need them. I want them, but I need social media. I can’t live without it. A lot of people don’t understand why, nor do I really. All I know is that I can’t go 10 minutes without checking my phone and 15 minutes without checking all my social media feeds. It’s addictive. It’s part of who I am. My generation was doomed from the beginning because once you have a little bit of technology, all you want is more. All I want is more.

I do pride myself somewhat with having more social skills than others, but compared to the adults I work with, live with, and am around every day, I have basically none. In public, I question everything I say, everything I do, and sometimes I just say nothing because I grew up with a tool that allowed me to do these things behind a keyboard and a screen. Is that good? No. Is that reality? Yes.

Finally, coming back to my original point. Maybe since it is the beginning of a new year, you will sit your phones down for a while. You’ll sit down and have dinner, play board games, have intelligent conversations face-to-face with your family. Maybe we’ll all do this as a “resolution.” So, maybe we do have some social skills, but only when it’s “that time of the year.” Isn’t that sad? We only want to talk to each other when something is expected out of us. We were expected to during the holidays and now we’re expected to for a resolution. We, not just teenagers, everyone, need to have these skills year round.

This year, we all need to go back to the roots, of something that us teenagers don’t really know a lot about, and talk. Talk about everything, talk about nothing. Just talk. And maybe, the generation of social media won’t turn out so bad after all.

By: Harley Crawshaw | @harley_crawshaw

About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.

Comments

  1. I see my son and daughter, both are teenagers, struggle with this too. For instance, my daughter and I were eating at a local spot and she saw a little girl she knew. She was TERRIFIED to speak to her, so the moms started chatting, and we exchanged info FOR the girls. Even though they knew each other, they had no idea how to strike up a conversation. Can you guess what they were doing at the table? That’s right. They were both on their smart phones. Needless to say, we have instituted rules now where phones get put down, DS’s are no longer allowed on shopping trips, and all devices to include laptops are turned in each night. As a parent, I think it is really healthy to take a break from electronics, and I do worry what life will be like for them in college and beyond. There is something to be said for having a REAL social life. Those LOL’s can be REAL laughs, and laughing is therapeutic. You did a great job on this article, and I hope it reaches those that are listening. Happy New Year!

    • I enable my Snuggle Bunny too much. I want her to be technology savvy, but there is a line when it comes to socialization. Having a screen separating you from another person desensitizes us to act and respond differently. This is why cyber bullying is on the rise in schools. Thanks for your feedback. I am sure Harley will appreciate your feedback.

    • Thank you so much for responding and reading! I definitely agree! Even at the holidays, it seems as though we are forced to talk to our family. The adults are just as bad as the teenagers sometimes! I do hope that people can learn to put their phones down sometimes and actually talk to one another. Happy New Year to you as well!

  2. Cathy Shelton says:

    Great job, Harley! I’m super proud of all that you’re doing!

  3. Dave Mack says:

    On one hand, it’s so much less-threatening to have a meaningful or important conversation via keyboard instead of in person, so I understand how people get caught up in using the non-voice part of their phones to communicate. On the other hand, young kids (I’m thinking of my 5-year-old and 2-year-old as examples) don’t know how to type or don’t have phones or don’t have social media accounts, so they spent a lot more time actually playing and interacting with others. I wonder how the youngsters end up regressing from being sociable in person to just over their devices.

    A side note–it’s reassuring to see a coherent, grammatically correct missive from one of the younger generation. As a self-proclaimed grammar Nazi, it drives me nuts when people are too lazy, careless or uneducated to write skillfully. I seen U did gud! 🙂

    • I am a self-proclaimed grammar Nazi myself, and I constantly correct my friends! But, thank you! I try my best to write as correctly as possible! And yes, I most definitely agree with you! Younger people, such as my 7 year old brother, doesn’t necessarily use cell phones to communicate with people, and it is interesting to see how people regress like that. But, still in reference to my 7 year old brother, he has an iPod and a Android tablet and that is all that he seems to want to do! Even when I was his age, all I did was play outside! Thank you for your comments! I very much appreciate them!

  4. John Emery says:

    Spot on article, well written. Great job!

  5. Great article and intelligent thoughtfulness from a 16 year old! Being a middle-aged adult and having dealt with many generations and their respective social skills, I’ll predict that you’ll do just fine in life! Just thinking about it is already so much more than most people will do. Nice job!

    • Todd, thank you for that confidence! I really hope that I will improve my social skills as the years go on, and not regress them like many. Thank you for the comment, I appreciate it!

  6. Great acknowledgement for all of us Harley.

  7. Very Insightful! As a professor, I see problems as new entrants into a work force, especially when extensive customer contact is necessary. As a mom of a teenager, I still have some time to develop some of the social skills, and yes I am going to share this with my students!!!! Hoping your age will have a bigger impact! Thanks for your honesty and insightfulness!

    • Thank you very much, Sandy! I am hopeful that people will realize that they can use social media all they want, but they still need social skills. Thank you for your feedback! I am happy that you enjoyed it enough to share it with your students!

  8. Well, let’s just say that Harley made a huge impact with her very first blog article. I can’t wait to see what she has next for us. (No Pressure)

  9. Harley, What a sincere, accurate, and timely article. I’ve watched the Fine Art of Conversation being lost upon your generation. We ban smartphones from the dinner table as well with my grand kids.
    Well done!

    • Guido, thank you so much! I’ve been noticing a lack of communication with my generation and I thought that the problem needed to be addressed. Thank you for taking time to read my article!

  10. I think sometimes we become to impersonal with our communications. I know at work at Hardee’s it seems we email and/text when a phone call would have been better.

    We all I think need to learn to communicate better and on a personal level.

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