At the moment its fashionable to criticise social media as something unnatural which is disconnecting people from each other. I think its the complete opposite.
For most of human existence, we have lived in groups/ tribes of varying numbers: we knew everyone, everyone knew everything about us. If disagreements took place, they had to be sorted out, we couldn’t ‘move on’ and forget about them. Even relationships which broke down had to be dealt with and the parties involved would see each other all the time.
Social media such as Facebook encourages us to form our own ‘tribes’ of friends and family and of course human relationships are still difficult and they still break down. If the person you have fallen out with is in your friends group, you will have to see and deal with them on a virtual level, which can be just as awkward. This encourages us to sort out our differences, as we had to in the past.
Obviously you can block them but it can be very difficult to do this if you still harbour feelings for them.
Another criticism of social media is that it is taking away our privacy. Privacy, however, is only a recent human luxury. Up until less than one hundred years ago, people lived together in small houses, sharing the same bathrooms and bedrooms. Everyone knew who was doing what with whom and the way problems between people were resolved was to tell everyone else, who then discussed it and found a solution to suit the whole group/ tribe.
It is this way with social media. People post their opinions and problems online and their ‘tribe’ discusses them til a solution is found. Obviously many people do not feel the need to post about their problems, but it is very tempting to use Facebook as an outlet, even if just to gain sympathy.
I think social media is actually recreating past human society: being forced to deal with situations because you can’t ‘move on’ and encouraging us to know all about our neighbours and friends, even if its just virtually.