What If You Had To Pay To Use Social Media?
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Politics and Activism

What If You Had To Pay To Use Social Media?

What If You Had To Pay To Use Social Media?

Paying to use social media? What a ridiculous concept, one might say. However, not so unfeasible—recently perusing Tumblr, “SAVE THE INTERNET” appeared in the top right corner of the page. It led me to read on about cable companies’ current endeavor that basically results in slowed or restricted internet use based off charges. We could have to start paying to use the internet. Learn more here.

In a sense, we already do pay. We purchase our phone data plans, pay the wifi bill each month, link our credit cards to our Apple ID for certain app purchases. Now it appears there’s the above referenced debate about potentially regulating and charging certain internet sites. But what if each individual use of social media directly withdrew money from our pockets? What if every time you uploaded an Instagram, 50 cents deducted from your bank account? What if every time you posted a Facebook status, you had to pay a dollar? A quarter gone for every time you liked someone’s profile picture, post about the family vacation to Florida, or selfie on the way to class/gym/birthday dinner/going out/any other life activity people like to share on social media. How would “having to pay” affect how we use -- or how much we use -- social media?

Today, social media dominates, and most people can admit to their immersion in its ways. From texts to tweets, we’re mildly obsessed with checking our phones, searching for free wifi, responding to our texts, viewing the latest batch of Snap Stories. It’s become second nature, simply part of our every day lives. However, here in Spain where I’m forced to utilize a nice flip phone that literally does nothing besides text and call, I’ve begun to notice the constant use of technology all around me. It’s one of those things you read and hear about -- how technology is changing our society, how we’re all so social media obsessed, how it’s probably spoiling our brains and making us miss out on so much -- but you don't really believe. 

It doesn’t really stop us from participating, because it’s just the way things are. We like our social media. But even now as I sit outside at the Iscariote Café in Spain, typing on my computer (technology), I see a mother walking down the road, pushing her stroller and checking her phone. I see a man in a light blue shirt, eyes glued to his device as he walks down the street, dogleash in hand. I see a woman sitting at a table of friends, her phone out on the table, right within arm’s reach. Access to and use of social media really is everywhere.

Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing, if we had to pay to use social media. It would certainly discourage us from always turning to our phones, iPads, computers for amusement and entertainment, rather than enjoying the world around us. If it cost us money every time we “liked” something, giving and receiving “likes” would be worth a whole lot more. But I suppose putting a price on social media opens up a whole other can of worms, about our freedom and right to such platforms of communication. We shouldn’t have to rely on government regulation and private companies’ enforced fees to limit our personal consumption; in fact, should they even be able to? So perhaps it would be a very very terrible thing if we had to pay to use social media. Beyond the obvious restrictions that such regulation would compel -- we don’t want to pay to Snapchat!! -- it would give a whole new level of power and control to socially influential corporations.

We live in a world where everything costs money. Who knows? Before we know it we might be paying to Google things. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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