The Day The Social Media Took Over

Sociallandscape

Source: Wallblog

Lauren is worried about the future, man. How can we experience anything anymore, if we’re too busy tweeting about it.

Oh, the irony.

With the proliferation of the internet, it’s no surprise that according to ‘Fast Company,’ in the past year 25% of people aged 18–44 cannot remember not having their phone with them at all times. What I find even more striking is the fact that according to an OFCOM study in 2014, the British spend more time on social networks than sleep. Aided by a technological and convergence based revolution, I personally believe we are heading for a social media overload.

21st Century social media such as, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr, Pintrest and Snapchat are paving the way for a whole new lifestyle; some might call it a virtual reality. I think in the past few years the rapid surge in popularity, and content consumption of these sites, more than illustrates the way social media is slowly taking control. Chances are, you found this article through a social media site.

Oh, the irony.

It can be argued that taking the perfect Instagram photo of you and your friends at a festival, is more important than enjoying the actual experience. Moreover, tweeting about the event you may be enjoying, checking in to that location on Facebook, or even taking a Snapchat, is just a conventional aspect of the day. It appears to me that we are more in love with showing off our life through a virtual reality, than we are actually living it.

It appears to me that we are more in love with showing off our life through a virtual reality, than we are actually living it.

Recently, social media has been described as a catalyst for cyber-bullying, with majority of cases resulting in a fatal ending. In August 2013 teenager Hannah Smith took her own life after being bombarded with abuse through social media sites, particularly ask.fm, which allows members to ask anonymous questions. According to The Telegraph, in 2015 the Metropolitan Police received 1,207 crime reports that mentioned Facebook in 2014, up from 935 in 2013. However, abuse through social networks hasn’t just affected the general public, celebrities have also had their fair share. In July 2012 at the pinnacle moment of his Olympic diving career so far, Tom Daley was the victim of malicious comments made about his late father through Twitter. Despite the police being alerted to this specific case, 7/10 cyber bullying cases through social media go untraced, producing no deterrent or punishment for such behavior.

‘it takes discipline to not let social media steal your time.’

Another danger of social networking is the way in which is detaches us from typical socialization. I would argue that 21st Century audiences, and especially the younger generation, fail to understand the concept of moderation; hence social media becomes integrated in our everyday lifestyle. Some psychologists have suggested that overuse of social media can produce narcissistic qualities among young adults; furthermore over consumption can increase the likelihood of depression or anxiety.

In conclusion, there is a vast array of evidence that would suggest social media has more of a negative effect on 21st Century audiences than it does positive. So how do we improve this? To quote Alexis Ohanian, owner of social news site Reddit, ‘it takes discipline to not let social media steal your time.’

This article was written by Lauren.

Do you Tweet too much? Tweet us and tell me all about it, champ. Here I am: @rifemag

If you’ve experienced cyber-bullying and need to talk to someone, either check out these girls’ group sessions (if you’re a girl, obvs), or talk confidentially to someone at Off The Record

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