In my opinion and in the conventional sense, not very. More and more often I see groups of friends together, sitting staring at their phones to see who else has written on their wall, re-posted a picture, who's going out with who, and what their friends had for dinner last night. This is what I'd consider anti-social in the traditional way. They're physically with other people, they should probably be talking to them and documenting their own lives if that's how they roll. If people take pictures, but don't bother uploading them till later they'll still be the same as if they hadn't spent the time thinking of a caption and tagging the people in it, but they could spend more time with their friends in our increasingly busy lives. The idea behind social media is great. But a few usages of it ruin my experience a little.
I fail to see where being 'social' can be achieved by sitting in a dimly lit room staring at pictures of the people we fancy and liking or retweeting statuses. Don't get me wrong, I'll do that, but I won't feel particularly social while I do it. Much of what comes up in my Facebook news feed I don't care about. Nor am I about to play a game through Facebook because someone's been tricked into inviting everyone on their friends list to join them on a particular game, just so that the developer can have the chance of earning more money through in-game purchases, or through advertising.
Social media also introduces the ability to be incredibly rude and ignore other people's interactions with them. If you did this in person you'd lose friends pretty damn quickly, you'd become ostracised from your circle of friends and need to start over. It's not like real life where you may not hear someone talking to you, it's written there. You probably got a notification about it too - whether it's convenient or not. But I'm not personally ruled by these notifications. I'll happily take my time to finish whatever it is I'm doing until I can take the time and respond properly. Phone calls are another matter, that's definitely something I'm more likely to answer straight away. I'll use phone calls myself for when I don't really want to wait for an answer. I don't see texting as immediate either, but it's pretty difficult to ignore someone on the other end of a phone.
It has the power to make you angry with ease. The "like whoring" on Facebook is a prime example of this. Apparently I support *insert ridiculous statement here* if I ignore a really old picture of something bad, but if I like the picture I'm against it. This is ridiculous for a few reasons. Assuming I support something just because I don't want to click a button is lame. Liking an image of something bad, is surely bad in and of itself. It's more akin to declaring that you support what's happened to whatever in the picture. E.g. a person who's been beaten up. This sparks conversation, which it arguably should, but it's not one that I want to participate in. Whilst it may raise awareness of an issue, doing this in itself I have nothing against the practice of, however, I disagree with the methods used to achieve this.
As my friend Dan said, "Twitter is the equivalent of standing at the top of a hill and shouting". While not strictly true it sure seems to be the use some people, and companies, have for it. Particularly large companies, which use it as a broadcast method, rather than interacting with their followers and responding to negativity and positivity in a productive way.
It may gradually become more socially acceptable to spend time in a social situation to update your social media accounts. I'm interested to see other people's opinions. This has mostly been about Twitter and Facebook, because those are the ones I use the most. But what about others? Do people update those when they're out as often?