Social Media: Friend or Foe?

I have a friend; you may know someone similar to her. She’s a 22 year old college student and the first thing she does in the morning when she wakes up, she rolls over to check her phone. Not even a good morning to anyone in her presence. Sometimes, when I am with this friend, she is so focused on what is on the screen of her iPhone, that I feel like I could walk away and she would never even notice. As a joke, I sometimes do walk away to see how far I can get without her noticing.

Technology, such as the iPhone and Mac computers, allow us such great access to the vast viral world of the internet and the information on it. Social media has transformed the ways in which we communicate, network and get our news.

My generation, being a 22 year old girl in college, has seemed to adapt to this technology culture faster than any other generation. We accept it with open arms; we spend endless hours contributing to multiple outlets and using technology in our daily lives.

As I look at my friend sitting across from me staring into her phone, I wonder, is too much of a good thing, bad?

I find from personal experience that social media can be a HUGE distraction from the world that is happening right in front of me. I start on one site, and I am suggested to another. As I finish an episode on Netflix, another show is presented to me. It is almost to compelling to look away even if I wanted to! Before I know it, I have spent three hours on the internet doing what exactly?

When I am distracted on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I notice that others are looking for approval of others. This is only human nature. People post news stories, fishing for opinion, likes, and comments. We are all looking to connect and communicate with like minded people and social media seems to give the freedom at our finger tips to express ourselves.

In a study done by Pew Research, it was found that people are less likely to discuss important issues on social media, than they are in real life. Bullying has become a growing problem to those on social media who offer different personal opinions that are on the contrary to the main stream ideas given by that majority of people. So now that we can speak to the world, we all of a sudden become quiet? Well isn’t that Ironic.

Besides social media being distracting and weakening to minority opinions of people, networking has without a doubt been a vital vantage point for all ages in social media.

In May 2015, 72% of adults use social networking sites, according to Pew Research.

Sites such as LinkedIn and PartnerUp, are ways to connect with other professionals and search for offered opportunities to advance in a career. With social media, it is easier now than ever to connect with employers and potential employees from all around the world.

So does my friend have a good reason to be on her phone as much as she is, practically missing out on the world around her? Is the world inside of her phone the only world that matters?

I love the internet and the information available to us all. It puts us all on the same level which cannot be said in our histories past. It is a beautiful thing to be equal with information but what is  good about information if you spend endless hours looking at it and cannot express your own bold opinion? I would say no amount of time or knowledge gained from social media is useful if you cannot use it or express it.

Using social media to network yourself and others is truly one of the best ways to use technology today because it betters yourself and the people around you.

As Meatloaf would say, “two out of three ain’t bad”, but in this case, it is bad. I believe social media had the intent of being an online community of fearless speech and power but it is more of a hindrance and a distraction to the world wide population.





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