Thoughts

Our Increasing Reliance on Social Media

It’s no secret that social media has taken over our generation in such a way that it’s essentially become a necessity. We use Twitter as a direct news source. It’s easy and fast enough, and isn’t that something we’re always looking for, convenience? Our generation certainly is not a patient bunch. We’ll take instant gratification all day, any day. (Incidentally, when I say “our generation,” I’m referring to what’s been categorized as “Generation Y,” which is people born anywhere between 1984-2002. However, this is merely an estimate rather than a set range, as I’ve also read that it can be applied to people who were born between 1977-1994. Either way, I fall under the category.)

Social media has its advantages, of course. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s interactive. It can be used as a platform to market yourself, share your thoughts with people and let them know what you’re up to. I’ll stick with Twitter for my example. Celebrities use it to let their fans know about their latest projects. Public figures like politicians use it to inform people about their ideas. News media outlets like the New York Times,  The Huffington Post and especially TMZ use it as one of the many ways to send out their latest news stories. It’s used as a way for people to connect and find out the latest updates about things they care about.

That being said, there are also many disadvantages to social media. It’s sadly made cyber bullying that much easier. It’s become a soapbox for people to voice their lengthy opinions about  the latest current events, or simply complain about something that annoys them. It’s become a method for people to gloat about their latest accomplishments, which is fine in essence, but if done too often it comes to a point where you’re just bragging  about things that no one wants to hear about. It’s become a tool for people to post pictures and statuses about the most trivial of things.

In short, it’s become an addiction.

And that’s exactly why I decided to give up the personal use of social media for Lent this year. Not all forms of social media, mind you, because technically this blog is a form of social media. I’m staying off of the main social networking sites (namely Facebook and Twitter, as well as Instagram). The reason is because they’ve become huge time wasters for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’d have a paper to write or a script to draft, and I’d purposely distract myself by browsing Facebook and Twitter for hours instead of disconnecting from them and getting my work done that much sooner.

I figured, I’ve lived through a time where social media didn’t even exist, so I can survive without it again. Plus, is it really so necessary to mindlessly check my Twitter page every twenty minutes? Is it really so important for me to scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and check out pictures and read statuses from people whom I haven’t actually seen face-to-face in years? Do I really care about knowing which girl I went to high school with just got engaged next? Do I really care what about what some person whom I’ve barely talked to but just know well enough to be friends with on Facebook is having for lunch? And do they care about whatever it is I’m doing?

Hell no.

It was all the more reason for me to give them up for Lent this year, which started last week on Ash Wednesday, March 5th, and ends on Easter, which falls on April 20th this year. (Insert 420 joke here.) This will be the longest I’ve been off social media since I started using it, which really is pretty sad, if you think about it. I joined Facebook in December 2007 and Twitter in June 2011 (although I actually didn’t start tweeting until January 2012). I’m hoping that after Lent is over and I hop back onto these social networking sites, I’ll be able to control myself more  and not feel the need to check them multiple times throughout the day for no real reason at all, other than the fact that I’m simply looking for an easy distraction.

I haven’t really felt the compulsive need to tweet so far, so I think it’s going well, haha. I will successfully resist temptation.

-Ali

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