We Spend Too Much Time On Social Media And It Is The Downfall Of Our Society

We Spend Too Much Time On Social Media And It Is The Downfall Of Our Society

Maybe we should stop obsessing over it.
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Social media - most of us have some form of it. Between Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and Facebook, average teenagers spend around six hours a day refreshing their feeds, while average adults spend about four hours a day doing so. If the average amount of awake time for an adult and teen is, on average, 16 hours/day, that means teens spend 37% of their waking hours on social media, and adults spend 25% of theirs doing the same.

So, numbers aside, people from all age groups, parts of the country, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. waste A LOT of time on social media. I have one question: Why?

Sure, being the first to know something is fun. I get notifications directly to my phone from the AP Poll's Twitter feed just so I can get the poll as soon as it comes out, even though it comes out at 2 P.M. every Sunday. However, why do we obsess over knowing what our first-grade teacher's son's ex-wife's dog did today? Most of the time, we don't even know these people that we watch so closely. Sure, we have met them one or two times, or maybe we work with them but hardly talk, or something of the like. But, does that mean we really know someone? When a person meets someone new, they automatically check the big three - Facebook first, Instagram second, Twitter third. Then they follow/add them if they deem them worthy, and, if so, then they're friends forever. Wait, that makes no sense. They don't know each other; they just met. So why do they claim to be friends? Because it makes them feel good to have an extra person following their every move? Or is because they will have someone new to entertain them?

What about keeping around people who drive you crazy? I know that I, personally, have one friend on Facebook that I keep around just because her statuses are so ridiculous that they make me laugh. But why do we keep around the people that we constantly argue with? I see the same people fighting each other on social media every other day. Just come on you guys, block each other. My block list has 64 names on it, and I'll say that 99% of those people I've never had a direct issue with. Those people are annoying or I don't like them. I avoid the drama by nipping it in the bud. People enjoy the constant social media beef because it draws so much attention to them. They get 50 new friend requests and 20 new messages. It makes them feel like they matter, almost like they're famous. So, when someone is getting a ton of likes and shares and messages and retweets, people that follow them feel important too - like their friend is famous, even if they don't agree with whatever brought the attention on, or really even know the person.

We use social media as a way to legally stalk people. There are people who check their ex from three years ago's page every single day, even though they have both moved on and there's no reason to obsess over them. We check the pages of our crushes and our enemies. We check the pages of people who we wouldn't recognize in real life. Is it to make us feel like we have some sort of control? They don't know that I'm looking at pictures of their kids from two years ago, so I win? It's very odd.

Why do we have to post our every move on social media? We need to tell the universe what we cook, what we wear, what we watch, what we drink, and who we party with.

Every. Single. Day.

Doesn't that get a little intrusive? Or does it fill you with pride when someone comments on your chicken alfredo and says "mmm!"? It's about the importance. We judge ourselves by the likes, comments, and exposure we get. That's how we understand our own importance. So, people post the weirdest, little, seemingly unimportant things to get a few likes and some praise, because that's what keeps them going.

To answer the main question here about spending so much time on social media, we do so because it is an insane addiction. From the day you set up your account until the day you finally put it down for good, it can consume you. You fall in love with being the first to know something important happened. You obsess over drama, your own or someone else's. You get off on the likes. You love the power of knowing everything about someone without them knowing that you know. It causes so much harm that it shouldn't be normal. We don't really make friends anymore because we have so many online pals that we don't have time to go watch a movie or go bowling. We don't actually read the news, we rely on our social media accounts to keep us unbiased and constantly informed on everything (how wrong!). We don't even have to get to know someone before we date them, we just skim over their profiles and then - BAM! - we're together. But most of all, we waste valuable time on this bogus addiction because we just can't stop. Access to it is so easy, and it's always there. There's always something new. It's never boring. So why not look at it every time there's a break in a conversation or a long red light on the way to work?

I call for everyone to drop their social media accounts for a week. Do something new. Find a real-life friend. Don't let yourself depend on seeing Theresa's daily dog pictures and Joey's angry rants about the mail man. Change your outlook on what's important.

As a writer, I need social media to be my catalyst to get my work out there, so I keep it around. However, I keep my distance. I know it's addictive, so if I see myself getting too attached, I deactivate for a while. I think everyone should live in a similar way. Social media can be a great thing (a networking tool, an easy way to commincate with a large group of people, a place to share your creations, a place to buy and sell things easily, etc). We must stop allowing social media to be the downfall of society and make it be a force for good in the world.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Letter To My Best Friend On Graduation Day

What are you suppose to say to your best friend on graduation day?
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Have you ever heard of a fairy tale? Where two people meet and then everything else seems to fall into place. Well here’s how this one started: two little girls in preschool, sitting in a little room, with other little people. The teacher comes over and starts to hand out frosted cookies and bunny coloring pages for us all. Somehow, somewhere in here, the two little girls became best friends.

Now, I don’t want to tell you some fairy tale story, because fairy tales aren’t really true, right? So here’s what I really want to tell you.

What do you say? I mean really, what are you supposed to say to someone whom you’ve known for almost 15 years? And this someone isn’t just anyone. This someone is your best friend. Someone you’ve gotten used to seeing every day during the week. Someone you looked forward to seeing every day. What do you say?

Well, I guess I can start off by saying thank you. Thank you for being there when I needed someone to just listen. It doesn’t matter where we are in this world or in our lives, I know you will always be there to listen. As I will always be the same for you. Thank you for always being my best supporter. Thank you for not judging me for my sometimes poor decision-making skills. Thank you for late-night conversations. Thank you for remembering every inside joke we have ever created. And I mean every joke! Even if I don’t always remember them. Thank you for being brutally honest with me when I am being ridiculous.

Thank you for respecting my values and opinions, even if you disagree. Thank you for loving my family like you love your own. Thank you for fighting all of life’s battles by my side. Thank you for celebrating all of the exciting moments of my life with me and the many more to come. Thank you for forgiving me every time I might not have been the best friend in the entire world. Thank you for all you’ve taught me, even if you didn’t realize it at times. Thank you for always sharing your crazy stories with me. Thank you for being there through all of the significant others that I have mistakenly chosen. Thank you for listening to my long stories as though you haven’t already heard them a million times. Thank you for being strong when I was weak. Thank you for sharing your secrets with me, and for keeping mine. Thank you for sharing the past fourteen and a half years of your life with me. Thank you.

I honestly cannot believe that high school is over and soon we will both be going our separate ways in life. It’s hard to fathom that we won’t live a few houses down from each other anymore. Only on weekends when we are home from college. It’s going to be tough, but it’s OK. Because I know that no matter where we go in life, whether it’s a quarter mile away from each other or halfway across the world, you’ll always be my best friend. I’ll never come across someone who will be able to take your spot as my best friend. We’ve just got to remember that even though we change and we are both finding our own places in this world, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not still best friends. Later on in life I know I’m going to be able to look back and remember that you were the one who lifted my head when I was losing faith in myself. I know I’m going to remember how you were that one person who knew who I really was. Most importantly, I know I’m going to remember that you were that one person who made the biggest difference in my life.

There really aren't enough words to even begin to describe how much you mean to me. We have the highest expectations for each other and I know that you will be successful in anything you choose to do. Writing this to you is hard, because honestly, I’m scared to admit how truly sad I am to know this will be the end of school with you. There are so many things that I will miss about you next year, from how much of an angel you were to your contagious smile. There’s no one else who can make me laugh so hard that my sides actually begin to kill with pain. I’m going to miss the countless hours we would spend playing Mario Kart and Wii Fit. I’m going to miss you sitting in my kitchen eating cookie after cookie. While you may be one of the craziest individuals that I have ever met in the last 14-and-a-half years of my life, I know you will always be making others laugh if you’re not there making me laugh.You always manage to light up a room. You’ll forever be the life of the party and you never fail at making everything interesting.

It’s going to be hard not being able to run up to each other every day and share our crazy stories or rant about something that just happened during the previous class. I know there will be times after a long day of classes or work when I wish I could just head over to your house, plop down on your bed in your room and play Mario Kart while we talk about our day. I want you to know that whatever happens, whoever you become and whoever the future shapes you to be, I will always be here for you. Whether a drive or a phone call away, I will always be here. We may not be able to spend the next few years seeing each other every day, but I know that you will make a huge impact on those who meet you in the time to come.

The past 14-and-a-half years of my life have been fantastic. I want to thank you for simply being the person you are and for letting me have the honor of being your best friend. I will see you up on that stage when we sit there in the gym at Carrabec High School for the last time together. As soon as we march out that door, you can bet that I will be the first one to run up to you and hug you, and probably cry, and tell you that we made it. Here’s to an amazing future and to a lifelong friendship.

Back to the fairy tale thing for a moment. Now that I think of it, I don’t see why I called our friendship in the beginning a fairy tale. Fairy tales have happy endings, right? Well, our friendship may be a happy one, but it will never have an ending.

Cover Image Credit: Jeff Pouland

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Overwatch's Pink Mercy: Playing For a Cause

Blizzard Entertainment promotes Breast Cancer Awareness with new Charity Skin
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This week, Blizzard Entertainment released a brand new skin for Mercy, one of the heroes you can play as in the popular FPS MOBA "Overwatch". In an effort to promote awareness for Breast Cancer Research, they are offering Pink Mercy, pictured above, for $15. This is a steep price for an Overwatch cosmetic, however every dollar that they raise from each purchase goes directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with a minimum donation of $250,000.

But say you are just looking for a dope skin, so you can carry games in style as an elegant Magical Girl, this is the skin for you. It features a new design for the character and a handful of brand new sound effects that you simply cannot get on other Mercy skins. Beyond the skin and its unique effects, players can simply log into Overwatch between now and May 21 to receive a Breast Cancer Research Foundation exclusive player icon.

Almost everyone has a story about a family member or friend who has been affected by some form of cancer. It is a plague that touches many people, but it is one that we can combat. I urge you, if you have the funds, consider purchasing this awesome cosmetic. If you are in a bit of a financial pinch like me, and may not be able to afford this new skin, please consider sharing this information with your friends who also play Overwatch. The more people that hear about this, the more we can raise donations and awareness.

Find more information on how to purchase this skin here.

In the words of Mercy: HEROES NEVER DIE!


Cover Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

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