Social Media - Tool or Trouble?

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“You gotta love Facebook sex,” I muttered as my daughter harassed me about messaging my husband while we were both in the same room. I have become increasingly aware of the adverse affects of social media on myself and society. Giving up my iPhone has become a number one priority due to the fact that it is monopolizing my time and life. The use of social media is dramatically on the rise. Facebook alone has an estimated 550 million visitors per month (Das & Sahoo, 2011). Social networking sites are a convenient way to keep in touch with each other, and they have transformed our lives socially. However, communication skills are deteriorating, attention spans narrowing, and sadly, the insatiable desire to become a part of technological advances in social media mania is undermining common sense and behavior in society. Although the use of social media has rapidly become a valuable tool in society, few users take any thought of what adverse affects the excessive time spent on these sites has on social development. My name is DeeArla Bollschweiler and I am a Facebook addict. I have come to the realization that I am obsessed with social media after spending more than five hours playing games, exchanging posts from friends and family, and feverishly trying to figure out what to say on my status update. My need to “log on” grew to be an essential element to my survival. My smartphone with all of its apps and gadgets has become the control center to my world. I am a living example of letting my smartphone control me, and I don’t think that I am the exception. According to Mirriam-Webster (2012), social media is defined as any form of electronic communication through which users share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. From pictographs to social networking man has always found a way to communicate. When the telephone was invented, it was used only to communicate in an emergency. As technology advanced, it became a common appliance in every household. Eventually it became a way to communicate socially. In the beginning of the digital age, cell phones were first used as an emergency device as well and later exploded into everyday use ultimately eliminating the need for landlines. Communication has progressed in direct relation to technological advances. Furthermore, the added capability of accessing the Internet via a smart phone enabled communication through social networking to skyrocket. Some may believe that one of the motives of social media users is to relieve loneliness. Others believe it is a convenient way to overcome shyness. After all Facebook, one of the leading social media sites, was created by Mark Zuckerberg—a self proclaimed shy person (Rosenwald, 2011). Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do make information available in non-threatening ways, thus, allowing lonely or shy people to engage in conversation and share information without fear of judgmental looks or anti-social stigmas. One can learn about others by disclosing personal information which aid in the development of relationships and often lead to greater intimacy. For instance, one person I know avoids face-to-face interaction like it is a plague. She socializes daily with over 200 Facebook friends by sharing funny videos, stories, and pictures online. In her virtual world she can bypass the stress and anxiety of face-to-face interactions. How can she be lonely with over 200 virtual friends? Not long ago it was easy to fell feel lonely. Now it is impossible to be alone. Even though shy social media users may have hundreds of Facebook friends, many of them report still feeling lonely and depressed. Experts indicate that this may be because shy people are using social media sites as a crutch, feeling more comfortable with their virtual friends than their personal ones (Rosenwald, 2011). They may feel less stress when meeting and engaging with their virtual friends, however, they may not feel the...
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