Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Social media: Friend or foe?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 11:58 AM

I’m sitting in front of my computer checking my Facebook for probably the 30th time in the four hours since waking up to start the day. My most recent status is gaining traction with 33 likes and counting: “One of the worst feelings in the world? Not having chapstick!” It’s funny, the most popular statuses are usually insignificant, but totally relatable. Other recent noteworthy statuses include: “My twat doc lives in the complex in front of me. #awkward” and “You know you were drunk when you realize you were Googling Justin Bieber’s genitals.” You’re welcome.

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Needless to say, social media has managed to take over our lives. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gems to be found on my social media feeds, like videos of cats chatting or articles on things you should accomplish before getting married. It’s also often used as a tool for connecting long-distance friends. I managed to reconnect with a long-lost friend on Myspace way back when. And LinkedIn has definitely given me a platform for finding young professionals to connect me to job opportunities. As the saying goes, “It’s not always what you know, but who you know.”

But for many, myself included, social media timelines have become riddled with jealousy, drama and ignorance. Whether your social media platform of choice is Vine, Facebook, Twitter or otherwise, I’m sure you’ve come across your fair share of posts that made you cringe. Or maybe you’re one of the ones they make memes about — those who can’t wake up, poop or eat without checking your notifications or tweeting about it: “Gotta love Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. #pumpkin #fall #theyspelledmynameright.”

Trust me, if you ask anyone who follows me how I feel about social media, they will definitely tell you I love posting. I try to keep it 65 percent light-hearted with funny videos, 10 percent hopeless romantic with poems, 5 percent raunchy with cursing/sex jokes and the last 10 percent is a sprinkle of politics and feminism. But as I started to recognize the amount of times I pull out my phone, along with everyone around me, instead of having a conversation, it’s scary.

Considering the following downfalls with social media, it may be time to set the phones down.

Relationship drama: I can’t tell you how many times social media has caused drama in my relationships and those of my friends. From arguments over someone liking too many pics to one person deciding a certain outfit was too revealing for a post and should be deleted. I even have a friend who used DM as a tool to get her ex to respond to her by messaging him and his girl. And this is why not all of us need to focus on social media.

Name vs. social media handle: How familiar does this sound: “Girl, have you seen @lookmanohands’s pics today?” Better yet, how many times have you realized you have no idea what someone’s real name is but you like every single one of their pics? The worst part about it? It’s completely normal if not exciting when that’s how someone knows you. #startedfromthebottom

News coverage: It is true social media has the power to be a platform that can undo the damage popular news stations cause. However, it’s been proven by the past couple years of conversations about politics and wrongful death that in the wrong hands, any and all current events can fall victim to ignorance and even go viral afterwards.

Dating apps: If I hear about one more dating app, I think I might croak. As if dating isn’t hard enough, we need a constant reminder that we are that much further than achieving the wedding with a catchy hashtag and a baby monster? “Would you swipe left or right on this chick?” Response: “Nah, the first pic is cute but look at the third.” Apparently, there’s a new(er) one called “Bumble.” Yeah, that’s the winner.

Detached from the moment: There are two commercials out right now that will make you think twice about your obsession with your phone. The first is a mom driving and she’s posting a pic of her daughter in the back seat, a second later she wrecks. The second is about a girl surrounded by all her friends who are on their phones every single moment they are drinking, tanning, riding and so on. It makes you think, do I really need to take a pic of each plate, each shot or each cheers?

If you’re one of the few that has managed to stay above the drama and BS that is social media, I applaud you. Either way, I’d love to know what social media has done for you. The good, the bad and the ugly!

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