Smartphones Contribute To Our Polarization

Smartphones And Social Media May Be the Reason For Our Country's Polarization

The shield and constant attention we receive from our phones is contributing to the polarization

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Many times, instead of interacting with the world around us, we interact with the virtual world of our phones. Once at work, before we needed to clock in, I and a couple of other coworkers were standing in a circle. Rather than socializing, we gaped at our phones, all pretending we weren't around anyone. Somebody even joked, "Ha! We're all looking at our phones." All of us looked up from our screens to laugh, then continued to look back down. Many of us now choose to be on our smartphones rather than engage with the people around us.

The article, "We Are All Quants Now," written by Paula Cohen, is about the effect phones have on our culture. Cohen argues that because of the concept of "likes," we base worth on the quantity of something.

In the introduction of the article, Cohen tells a babysitting story from her friend. While her friend was watching a 7-year-old girl draw a picture, she asked if she was proud of her work. The little girl replied by saying she'll know when she finds out how many "likes" it gets at school. Cohen follows up this story by recognizing that, "for a 7-year-old to want to assess her drawing by the number of 'likes' it gets means that she understands her artwork in quantitative terms."

This is not only true of young children but also true of teens and young adults. Unfortunately, we base the worth of things and even ourselves on the amount of "likes" or "views" we receive. Many times I have heard teenagers around my age of 17 boasts about how many "likes" they get or how many snapchat "streaks" they have as if it is representative of their worth.

An article in Time called, "Americans Check Their Phones 8 Billion Times a Day," by Lisa Eadicicco, shows how often we use our smartphones. Eadicicco reports that "Although 46 checks per day is the average, that number varies depending on users' age group. Those between the ages of 18 and 24 look at their phones most often, with an average of 74 checks per day. Americans in the 25-34 age bracket look at their devices 50 times per day, and those between 35 and 44 do so 35 times each day."

The article, using a study by Deloitte, also said that Americans collectively check their phones 8 billion times a day. Given this information, it's safe to say that we are, "glued to our phones." Of the average 46 checks per day, some of them are understandable and necessary, but most of them are unnecessary.

Smartphones and social media may be one of the reasons for the polarization of our country. The invention of the smartphone has allowed us to access social media anywhere at any time. Since we have easier access to social media, we can now interact with hundreds of people behind a screen. But with this new privilege comes negativity.

The fact that we are behind a screen gives us the ability to say things to people we would never say in person. The phone screen works as a shield against any responsibility for the things we spout. This leads to alarming division among us. We can now say nasty and uncalled for things to people we disagree with politically. This type of behavior has replaced a respectful discussion. There are many reasons why our country is polarized and social media is one of them.

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75 Of The Most Iconic Vine Quotes

"I smell like beef"

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Vine may be dead but Vine references live on. I still watch Vine threads AT LEAST twice a day. Here are 75 of the most quotable vines:

1. "Ooooooo, he needs some milk."

2. "Hi, welcome to Chili's."

3. "It is Wednesday, my dudes."

4. "Country boy, I love you ahhhwweelhwh..."

5. "Escalera oooooooaaaa!"

6. "F**k ya chicken strips!"

7. "Barbecue sauce on my titties."

8. "Gimme your F**KING money!"

9. "That was legitness."

10. "Ms. Keisha, MS. KEISHA! Oh my f**king God, she f**king dead."

11. "Fre-sha-vocado."

12. "Staaaahp! I coulda dropped my croissant!"

13. "That's my OPINION."

14. "You're not my dad, ugly ass f**king noodle head."

15. "What the f**k, Richard."

16. "This bitch empty, YEET!"

17. "Road work ahead? Yeah, I sure hope it does."

18. "What up, I'm Jared I'm 19, and I never f**king learned how to read."

19. "Um, I'm never been to oovoo javer."

20. "My God, they were roommates."

21. "Why are you running, why are you running?"

22. "Whoever threw that paper, your mom's a hoe."

23. "I can't swim."

24. "Lebron James."

25. "It's an avocado, thanksssss..."

26. "Mother trucker dude, that hurt like a butt cheek on a stick."

27. "Watch your profanity."

28. "I love you bitch, I ain't never gonna stop loving you, biiiiiitch."

29. "What are thoooooose?"

30. "I smell like beef."

31. "You better stop."

32. "What the F**K IS UP KYLE?"

33. "Come get y'all juice."

34. "Two bros, chilling in a hot tub, 5 feet apart cause they're not gay."

35. "So you just gonna bring me a birthday gift on my birthday to my birthday party on my birthday with a birthday gift?"

36. "I wanna be a cowboy, baby."

37. "Why you always lying?"

38. "Nice Ron" "I sneezed, oh, what, am I not allowed to sneeze?"

39. "I'm washing me and my clothes."

40. "Honey, you've got a big storm coming."

41. "XOXO, gossip girl."

42. "Shoutout to all the pear."

43. "A potato flew around my room before you came."

44. "Chipotle is my life."

45. "Look at all those chickens!"

46. "YOU BETTER STOP."

47. "I like turtles."

48. "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life, watermelon, INSIDE A WATERMELON."

49. "Deez nuts, HA GOT EM?"

50. "F**k you, I don't want no ravioli."

51. "21."

52. "I'm in my mum's car, broom broom."

53. "Iridocyclitis."

54. "You know what, I'm about to say it."

55. "That is NOT correct."

56. "Uh, I'm not finished" "Oh my God, can you let me do what I need to do?"

57. "I have osteoporosis."

58. "ADAM."

59. "Merry Chrysler."

60. "Wait a minute, who ARE you?"

61. "Try me, bitch."

62. "When will you learn, THAT YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES?"

63. "I didn't get no sleep cause of y'all, y'all not gone get no sleep cause of me!"

64. "Do you want to go see Uncle Cracker or no?"

65. "So no head?"

66. "You got eczema."

67. "I am shooketh."

68. "Hey my name is Trey, I have a basketball game tomorrow."

69. "Can I PLEASE get a waffle?"

70. "There is only one thing worse than a rapist." "A child."

71. "Ah f**k, I can't believe you've done this."

72. "Bitch, I hope the f**k you do."

73. "Two shots of vodka."

74. "F**k off Janet, I'm not going to your f**king baby shower."

75. "JEEEEEZ, Jesus Christ."

Cover Image Credit:

Vine/Katie Ryan

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I Limited My Social Media Usage And I Challenge You To, Too

My worth is not defined by the amount of likes I get.

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Every morning at 8 a.m., my alarm goes off, I roll over, and the first thing I do is check my Snapchat only to open a bunch of pictures of the top of someone's head, or the wall, or — my favorite — a black screen. This is something we're all guilty of, myself included. We all know that social media is becoming an addiction amongst us, so why do we still use them in an unhealthy way? Why are our friendships defined by who has the longest streak? Why are our perceptions of others based on the most perfectly posed presentations of people? Why is our self-worth dependent on the number of double taps or shares or comments?

My world used to revolve around social media.

Every time I posted a picture on Instagram, I would constantly refresh to see how many likes I had accumulated. The worst part about that is I would get upset if I didn't get any likes in the seconds between each refresh.

If I got bored or had some downtime between classes, I would spend hours just scrolling through the same posts, hoping to find something different.

So much of my life was wrapped up in the superficiality of social media posts to the point where I no longer knew who I was. I would see pictures of my friends who ended up at the same college and feel left out, I would see girls from high school joining sororities, I would see people looking so stunning and having so much fun, and I let that be the thing that influenced how I felt.

Social media consumed me. It made me forget all the wonderful things I have in my life. It made me value a photo opportunity more than just enjoying the moment for what it is. Let me tell you that a moment is no less valuable just because it isn't visually appealing.

I've recently started using the Screen Time feature on my iPhone. I set a two hour per day limit on my social media usage, and when that time is up, I can no longer open the apps. Since then, I've been spending more time face-to-face with the people I care about. I've reconnected with old hobbies. I feel less stressed. I stopped comparing myself to others. I learned to be happy with myself.

I limit my social media usage because all the time I've spent aimlessly scrolling through Instagram is time I could've spent going for a walk and enjoying the warmth of Spring.

I limit my social media usage because I value face-to-face interaction. I value hugs and laughter and all the other things you can't get from a screen.

I limit my social media usage because it hurts my feelings when other people are on their phones when I'm trying to talk to them so how can it be right that I do that to someone else?

I think about how dependent on social media we have become, and it makes me so grateful that the sun is too bright to see our phone screens outside and that the mountains raise too high to have good cell service. I'm grateful that my friends make me laugh so hard that I don't even think to check my phone.

So, I challenge you to separate yourself from your social media. Even if it's just for a day. See how your life changes.

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