Social media use isn’t just for the kids anymore. Whether they joined the social aspect of the internet community willingly or were dragged along kicking and screaming, by far the majority of adults online now have some sort of social media account. Social media usage has undeniable benefits. The capabilities for instant worldwide communication, keeping connected family and friends and coworkers, and potential for business marketing that have come out of social media’s invention are unlike anything the world has ever seen before. However, if you were to ask your average social media user, many would agree they waste way too much time on the internet. At least that is how these poll responding-type internet users seem to think on Debate.org.
“Come on people, we have better things to do in our lives than accidentally waste an hour per day (for some people more and some people less) scrolling through the Facebook or Twitter news feed.” said one of the 76% of people on the Debate.org feed who took the time out of their day to write a 218 word argument about why they think social media is a waste of time. The internet is filled with pretentious articles written by like-minded people decrying the rampant takeover of social media and how it is eating away at the time we could be spent doing so many more useful, productive things. Take this article on TopYaps written by Preeti Mishra as an example. Feel free to leave them some feedback using your Facebook or Twitter account to comment; or if you happen to agree with the article be sure to share it on either of the aforementioned social media platforms conveniently linked in the article so more social media users can read it.
Now don’t get me wrong, these articles are not totally without legitimacy. Of course there is a major time wasting aspect to social media. The internet is a vast resource for information, entertainment, communication, and Lord knows what else. Social media has become a way to share all of those things with others on a few convenient platforms. Inevitably some of the information shared isn’t going to be 100% for productive purposes. It is certainly possible to spend too much time scrolling down your Twitter feed chuckling to yourself as you consume an endless videos and memes in a similar fashion to Pacman devouring his pac-dots. Suddenly an hour an a half has blown by and you still haven’t gotten to work on that paperwork your boss wants finished and on his desk in 15 minutes. Good luck with that.
As with anything humans do, there has to be moderation. Scrolling down a social media feed is a form of entertainment. Spending an hour watching hundreds of six second Vines really isn’t so much worse than sitting down for a two hour movie. Obviously keep your work separate from your entertainment. This is common sense, and isn’t limited to social media use. We have all heard our parents or grandparents lamenting the old times, before our youth’s brains were turned to mush by this new technology of social media, when people went to see movies and did things together. This backlash is not new to the invention of social media. It has historically been present with every new media invention, from television to the act of writing itself.
Social media is nothing to be afraid of. Samer Farag, in his article “We Are Not Addicted To Social Media”, eloquently put it this way: “Our generation isn’t addicted to social media. It has simply become integrated into our lives, like the TV integrated into our parents’ lives, and how the radio integrated into our grandparents’ lives.” If anything, perhaps our grandparents should be encouraged to get on social media a little more frequently, as a recent study has found it to be beneficial to their mental and physical health.
Social media has changed the way its users communicate and entertain themselves by combining the two activities into one. It isn’t the first time new technology has caused such a stir with older generations who are used to what they grew up with, and I guarantee it will not be the last. My only request is that we younger generations (that’s right, in case you haven’t guessed it, I’m one of those stinkin’ millennials) take this into consideration when we are faced with the next round of major media advancement. Let’s try our best not to condemn our descendants who will unquestionably adapt to it much more quickly than we do.