Putting the Facebook down
Every generation experiences its unique set of problems. In this highly-technological age, we are encountering and coping with a world unlike that of previous generations. It is a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal: Social networking is eating into our daily interactions and online dating is becoming more popular than traditional dating scenes.
Technological advancement has benefited society in many ways such as the quick dissemination of information over great distances, globalization, more effective forms of communication and convenience, but the advent of social media has created a paradoxical dilemma: It is killing our social lives.
In a Sept. 10 article in the Daily Mail, Bianca London reports on research conducted on the use of Facebook and British youth.
“The average 18 to 25-year-old spends 1 hour 20 minutes on (Facebook) a day,” London said.
Add additional time spent on sites like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and most of the day is spent on social networking sites. Despite what users may think, examining people’s profiles or perpetually posting statuses are not true social activities.
The obsession with social media has bolstered a narcissistic and selfish youth. Lisa Firestone, a psychology expert on relationships, blasted social media for creating this new generation of narcissists in an Oct. 15 article for The Huffington Post.
“Perhaps more troubling: A handful of new studies comparing traits and life goals of young people in high school and college today with those of Gen-Xers and baby boomers at the same age show an increase in extrinsic values rather than intrinsic values,” Robinson said. “Millennials are more likely to value money, image and fame over community, affiliation and self-acceptance.”
By constantly engaging in the superficial and artificial world of social media, we are missing out on real life. Just look around. You will see people out at lunch with friends, but instead of socializing, they will be checking Facebook or texting.
This craze has created a new phenomenon and danger: the “catfish.”
Drphil.com defines a “catfish” as a person who creates a false online identity in the hopes of luring people into romantic relationships.
“Catfish: The TV Show”, aired on MTV, reveals the perils of online dating by accompanying people who want to meet their online loves. Your average Joe is not the only one susceptible to this kind of illusory relationship. Manti Te‘o, a linebacker at the University of Notre Dame, recently discovered his girlfriend who he had thought had tragically died of leukemia was actually a man from California named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
Despite all of this depressing information, there is hope on the horizon.
Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project researches and analyzes how we use the Internet. According to its research, two-thirds of American adults use Facebook, making it the dominant social media website. On Tuesday in a report by Lee Raine, Aaron Smith and Maeve Duggan, the research center released new data on Americans and their Facebook usage and discovered a new trend — people are taking lengthy “vacations” from Facebook.
“Sixty-one percent of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past, they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more,” according to the report. “Twenty percent of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.”
While admittedly the situation seems to be getting better, the addiction to social media is still a problem that needs curbing. Perhaps what’s happening to Facebook is a sign that social media is a fad.
Social media use needs to be kept in check. Take a moment to put down the phone and smell the roses; real ones smell better than virtual roses.
Sarah Backer is a business sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].