Notification nation: social networking and its impact

JAQUELINE ARECHIGA

 Twitter, Instagram, Vine. Constant­ly refreshing pages trying to find some type of entertainment has become al­most a part of one’s daily routine. As more and more social networking sites are coming out, the way people com­municate and spend their free time is changing fast.

The current generation has grown up with social media so it’s nothing new, but for those who are just learn­ing about it, it’s difficult strike a bal­ance between fun and responsibilities.

“E-mail is about the extent of what I do,” Phil Gross, a history teacher, said, “Once I go home, I try to make sure my time is with my family and don’t want to have to be worried about con­tacting and messaging so many people back and forth.”

Problem is this generation’s screen time is skyrocketing with people con­stantly on their cell phones whenever they have down time refreshing time­lines and posting statuses about their current moods and thoughts.

With the constant flow of commu­nication and entertainment at one’s fingertips, are people becoming too de­pendent on social networking?

“I have noticed that people who are always plugged in aren’t always tuned in to the people around them and they’re at any down moment checking Facebook or texting,” Kara Bleecher, a French teacher, said.

The younger generation is starting to take notice. As technology and de­vices are becoming such an essential part of society, the dynamic of friend­ships are changing as a result.

“In previous years, people would call each other or show up at each oth­er’s houses to talk, not we just tweet and message each other,” senior Devin Ryan said, “It’s sad actually, yes we can contact our friends in an easier way, but we don’t get much face-to-face time like we used to.”

It’s easier and faster to just send a text to someone when one wants to chat, but nothing beats seeing some­one face-to-face and having a personal interaction. Not only is it more worth­while, it sends clearer messages. With text and tweets, wrong assumptions can easily be made, and one’s mood and attitude can take the fall.

“It’s really easy to be misunder­stood with just words. It’s harder to be misunderstood when people can read your body language in one-on-one situations,” Gross said, “I can tell more about if you’re mad or happy just by reading other cues besides what I have in a script. That’s something you can’t get over social media,”

Not only are people losing their ability to keep in touch offscreen, some are taking advantage of it and creating a false image online. By posting sta­tuses or pictures for likes and retweets, people are becoming drawn to making their lives seem better.

“People get a tendency to look at other people’s lives and compare them to their own,” Bleecher said, “’Well my life isn’t as good because of this or that’ they say when in reality, people are putting up things to make them feel good and showing only the happy mo­ments in their lives.”

Social networking is a great tool to keep up with friends and to entertain oneself while, but not when it gets in the way of working. Being drawn to a phone when bored in class or doing homework is nothing rare.

“I don’t even know why I use social media,” senior Austin Michael said, “There’s hackers, scams, the negativ­ity, drama and loss of productivity.”

Social networking, though, is not always a bad thing despite its disad­vantages. New and improved networks are bound to pop up. Responsibily and moderation are key.

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