WXXI AM News

Expect more photos of burnt turkeys, upturned pies, as social media creeps into holidays

Nov 28, 2019

As new social media networks continue to emerge, and the number of people using them continues to rise -- TikTok added more than 500 million users this year -- they've begun to affect how people spend the holidays.

Credit U.S. General Services Administration

Mike Johansson, a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s school of communication, said virtual communities can be a threat to real-life experiences.

"I worry that people recording the event become so important that the full enjoyment of the event itself doesn’t seem to quite happen," he said. "You know, 'Let’s all gather around for a selfie in front of the laden table full of food. Meanwhile, everything is getting all cold.' "

I contacted Johansson through Twitter on Thanksgiving to ask him to about how social media apps -- like Twitter -- are changing how people celebrate Thanksgiving. He said there’s a certain irony in that, because, indeed, we were both working on social media on Thanksgiving. A few years ago, he said, that would have been much less likely.

But he also said it speaks to the positive power of social media to make connections between people.

He said as social media becomes more pervasive, it also becomes more mundane, and the highly curated façade of a perfect life that’s been the trademark of so many social media posts in the last few years is starting to change.

"There’s sort of a genuineness, I think, that's been creeping in for a year or two now. You know, people just saying, 'This is me,' right? 'Take it or leave it.' "

As a result, Johansson said, he won’t be surprised to see a few pictures of burnt turkeys or upturned pies on his social media feeds this weekend.