The Social Media Demon

I think I should start this post with an apology of sorts: I was intending to post again shortly after my last one, but I’ve been bogged down with things that other people have deemed to be ‘incredibly useful’. You can probably tell that I don’t agree.

Social media is taking over our lives. Fact. Twitter has recently launched a dedicated 2014 World Cup timeline, which condenses all the tweets about the football match currently airing into one stream. Gone are the days when you would need to pick up a newspaper or watch the sports news on TV to find out the scores of the games you’ve missed.
Social media provides the answers, to the point of actually being annoying at times. Imagine if you’ve just missed an episode of Game of Thrones. Surely it’s not that much of a disaster? You can just watch it the next day, can’t you? But your Facebook feed and Twitter timeline are full of posts about the episode, informing you who’s died this week. That’s not to mention the annoying friend of yours who’s read all the books and threatens to dish out spoilers to everyone.

During the 2000s, mobile phones became increasingly prevalent, as did email, which first came into existence around twenty years ago. How many students actually use them now? I see [hear] people making calls to each other, but text messaging is far more common. It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten how to talk. I remember one bus journey a couple of months ago, when nine people spent half an hour staring at their phones and not talking to each other at all.

Even texting is slowly being phased out, with the use of applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook’s messaging service taking over. It all comes back to social media. Students are increasingly foregoing email as well, to the point where it is effectively a convenient method of sharing documents. Even this use of email may dwindle, since we can send documents via Facebook, or message a Dropbox link to someone. Why send an email when you can send a text, or even better, a WhatsApp message that doesn’t use up your text allowance?

We are fast becoming slaves to social media, because of how convenient it can be. Want to express your delight at Rooney’s first ever World Cup goal? Tweet about it. Want to tell everyone about the meal you’ve just had? There’s Instagram for that (#instafood). However, I’m not for a moment suggesting that we should completely abandon social media and start talking to each other through an ancient landline, or two cups connected by a piece of string. I use social media as much as most people do. But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be taken over by it. Don’t sit down for an afternoon gazing at your Twitter feed. Go out and talk to someone.

PS: to all those reading this as a result of clicking on a link on Twitter or Facebook, I am being a bit of a hypocrite here. Sorry.

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