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What NATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY says about American social media

ATTENTION — WEDNESDAY WAS NATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY.

TWITTER HAS BEEN GOING OFF WITH THE HASHTAG #NATIONALCAPSLOCKDAY, WHERE USERS ARE CHOOSING TO TWEET THINGS OUT IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

IT’S NOT THE MOST POPULAR HOLIDAY, AS FAR AS NATIONAL CELEBRATIONS GO. IN FACT, IT’S A COMPUTER-BASED CELEBRATION, WITH THE ONLY TRUE REPRESENTATION BEING ONLINE.

AND IT DOES PRESENT A UNIQUE FACET OF OUR CULTURE — WE’RE LOSING OURSELVES IN SOCIAL MEDIA.

D.C. McAllister of The Federalist wrote on Thursday that people aren’t completely aware of who they are anymore because the focus has shifted so heavily to social media. People act a certain way online, and their true personality gets lost in the shuffle, McAllister wrote.

“The problem with social media is three-fold: It robs people of the importance of connecting on a physical level; it delays reactions, enabling people to create their own persona and avoid awkward situations that they are forced to deal with in real life; and, more importantly, it fails to cultivate self-knowledge and presence — the key to real human connection,” McAllister wrote.

People are losing out on physical interactions, which is an important part of being human, McAllister wrote.

“When you talk to someone — in the flesh — you exchange information without even realizing it,” McAllister wrote. “The movement of their hands, the flash of their eyes, the curve of their lips, the shifting of their body, the crossing of their legs — all of this communicates aspects of the person that you can’t get from an online chat. When you’re face to face with someone, you are entering into their complete presence in a way that’s impossible online.”

McAllister isn’t the first to criticize social media. Alyssa Giacobbe of The Boston Globe wrote Wednesday about how social media can complicate your life, saying that people can easily slip into arguments, get too serious and forget about who is watching.

And similarly, Andrew May asked if social media is destroying lives in his piece for The Age.

“Are we at risk of being constantly connected to social media and our technological devices, but at risk of losing 'real contact' with those that truly matter?” he asked.

There have been some movements to try to get people to unplug and step away from social media, like the “Look Up” video that has been circling the Internet in recent weeks.

And PC World highlighted some benefits for social media, especially when it comes to getting work done.

“Social media has a reputation — well deserved, we should note — for being a bit of a waste of time,” wrote Christopher Null for PC World. “ Who then can blame managers who chastise workers for whiling away the day on tweets, likes, and status updates? But what if you could prove to the powers that be that social media has real value to your job?”

So social media may have its benefits, but it could also be damaging. And as for today, society will have to see MORE CAPITAL LETTERS THAN THEY MIGHT WANT.

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner