I’m probably one of the few human beings in the world who does not participate in any social media network. It’s simple; I find social media networks pointless in terms of replacing real conversations and real people with typed words. I like meeting people the way people once met several years ago. For those who forgot, it starts off with a short introduction about yourself and not asking “what’s your Facebook?” What happened to the days when hanging out with friends at the Redondo Beach Pier was sufficient? Or simply calling someone up and saying, “Hi” ?
Facebook and Twitter have paved the way for many addictive users to know you without really knowing you.
I am not saying social media outlets are inherently terrible. Social media can actually be a plus if used maturely and responsibly: Facebook has allowed users to network and keep in contact with old/new friends; Twitter serves as a quick newsfeed; LinkedIn serves professionals who want to highlight their resumes through an online website; and Tumblr allows users to share anything from pictures to blogging. People can use social media networks in a healthy way if they limit the amount of time they spend on these websites.
However, most users don’t do it right. It amazes me to see people seated right across from each other in class and tell themselves they are in that present moment when they are distracted by their virtual self-representations.
It defeats the whole purpose of having a real conversation with someone. No one needs to know how boring your Friday 8 a.m. class is. I think we all agree – Friday classes suck.
Possibly the most destructive aspect about Facebook and other social media websites is the longevity of your posts. People need to take more caution when placing words and pictures on the Internet. Once pictures or statements are uploaded or posted, don’t be surprised if you see it in the future reflected right back at you. Using social media to vent your feelings and posts using crass or inappropriate words may not be so hilarious when it is taken out of context and comes back to haunt you. If you have problems with your significant other and still find a necessity to share your story to the world, go on Jerry Springer.
Social media can pose a problem on people’s self esteem and mental health, and users should be aware that these networks have more of a negative impact than a positive impact. According to the Social Media Examiner, an online magazine, users can feel lonely or hurt by words posted by someone they have never seen or met. According to Symptomfind.com, spending hours on the web can inhibit physical interaction with others and can lead to or aggravate depression and isolation, hindering creativity and decreasing physical activity.
Professor Lucy Parker, lecturer in the computer science department, explained what social media addiction looks like.
“Signs that a person is a Facebook addict includes: losing sleep, using it for four hours, ignoring your studies, obsessing over old loves, and, when leaving Facebook makes you feel cold, stressed, and anxious.” said Parker. “It is also a problem when you are updating your Facebook, have 10 apps, more than 1,000 friends, checking it on your cell phone, or logging onto Facebook first thing in the morning.”
Parker said that using Facebook for 30 minutes a day is healthy and suggests taking a social media detox if you suffer from one of these symptoms. A social media detox means not logging in for at least a few days.
According to Parker, abusing social media can kill languages because of the use of emoticons and abbreviations. They can undermine our ability to write proper words in the English language. Parker said it can also hurt students’ academic progress; a survey that was taken by Ohio State University proved that students who don’t obsessively use Facebook had GPAs of 3.5 to 4.0, while addicted students got GPAs from 3.0 to 3.5.
The same stranger you “friended” could be a source of inspiration or could be a burglar waiting to invade your home while you are away vacationing because you told the whole world about it!
“…Use good judgment when you put stuff on the Internet,” Parker said. “Don’t let everyone know your business.”
So, are you logged onto Facebook as you are reading this article or Tweeting about it? If so, stop. Grow out of it. Will it hurt to call up your best friend or visit your mom? Learn to keep your personal life out of the public eye.