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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Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?
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In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

Cover Image Credit: NewsOK

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I Admit It–My Whole Life Revolves Around A Router

Excuse me what is your wifi password.

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Imagining a life without wifi seems foreign to me.

Everywhere I go people talk on their phones, Snapchat, or scroll through Instagram. It has always annoyed me when I was talking with someone, and they check their phone. I am a strong advocate for disconnecting. However, I was not aware of how reliant I actually am for fast wifi.

As someone who enjoys peace and quiet and hates checking my phone or email. Embarrassingly enough, I am known amongst my friends as hard to reach, simply because I hardly ever have my phone on me. Knowing this about myself I assumed a life without internet would be one I easily enjoyed. However, since I have been studying abroad the wifi situation has been inadequate, to say the least, and I have been very frustrated about it. I had no idea how much I depended on the high-speed internet until I didn't have it.

Checking emails.

Face-timing friends and family.

Keeping up with all of my Netflix shows.

Writing on my blog.

Scrolling Pinterest.

Posting on Instagram.

All of these things are a part of my daily life.

Suddenly everything that I did when I got home I could no longer do. Naturally, of course, I grew excessively irritated at the slowness of the wifi.

Yet, after a few weeks, I realized that it wasn't actually a bad thing. For one, I get more sleep now than I ever did during the summer. Not having wifi in my bedroom stops me from binge-watching late at night until three in the morning. Maybe you could argue that I should have the self-control to just close my laptop when I get tired, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in a TV show I barely know the time to slip by until its too late. The slow wifi reminds me I need to go to bed anyway.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a futuristic kind of gal. Okay, not like Star Wars Galaxy but I am a dreamer and planner of what is next. It is so hard for me to be in the moment or be still. Without having any wifi or any distractions my mind becomes clear and I can focus on what is happening in the here and now.

Without the inaccessibility of wifi, I would have had no idea how dependent my life is upon it. When there is no wifi we are more prone to have engaging conversations with one another at the dinner table. No one can make me watch an eight-minute youtube video I was never interested in.

I suppose life has changed for the better and for the worse with wifi. I am not saying to throw your computers or phones in a lake, but it sure feels nice to disconnect every once in a while.

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