As a millennial, I am well aware I am part of the “social media generation.” It hasn’t been this way my whole life, but about half of it. I made my first Myspace account when I was 15 and that’s what started it all.
My mother hated Myspace. She basically banned me from it, but I always found a way. Mind you, back in 2004, it wasn’t so easy. We didn’t have MySpace on our cell phones. Cell phones weren’t so smart back then. Even if they were, it wouldn’t have mattered because I didn’t even have one. I found myself grounded many a time for sneaking on the computer after everyone was asleep, or staying up til’ 2am, probably on MSN Messenger. My mom was right to ban me from such things. All I did was talk to boys I didn’t know in real life.
Social media has it’s upsides. It’s a huge part of networking, both in my personal life and my work life. Even my day job has a social network for employees. But, social media has many set backs, and if we’re not careful, we’ll wake up one day and ask where the last ten years of our lives went. This has already happened at least once for most of us. 10 year reunion anyone?
These are, in my opinion, the setbacks, or negative aspects of social media.
- It can be a huge time waster
I recently removed the Facebook app from my phone because I know I need to spend my free time writing. I’ve spent so much time scrolling through my news feed only to close the app and mindlessly reopen it minutes, sometimes seconds later.
I do allow myself to check Facebook once in the morning and once at night through Safari on my MacBook or iPhone, but that’s it.
When I look through my phone now, I am in WordPress, writing in the notes app, browsing LinkedIn, or watching YouTube videos on writing. I find my time is used much more effectively.
- It allows your exes, or people you don’t want in your life to basically cyber stalk you.
This one really creeps me out. I’ll explain with a story. One night last summer, Jon and I were out at Red Robin (YUMM). It was the end of our date night and we’d had a great time. My phone goes off and I look to see what’s up. I have a message from the worst person I have ever known, my ex boyfriend. We will call him Igor. At this point, he and I have been broken up for over a year. Probably closer to a year and a half.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why don’t you just block him, Dakota?” Easier said than done. This guy always finds a way through. I shit you not. This guy once messaged me on Words With Friends.
Without it, this would be as simple as blocking a phone number. But with social media in the equation, it’s damn near impossible to completely remove someone from your life.
- Location tracking
This one is a double edged sword. Location tracking on cell phones saves lives. At the end of the day, I’d rather have it than not. But, I’m still going to include it in this list. The idea that really anyone that wanted to, could find out where I am at any given time because of location tracking doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to pull a Ron Swanson and get rid of all electronics. I might actually die (not really, but it would be difficult). All the check-ins and Google Maps and Snapchat filters that vary by location are fun. I still use them all. They are an intricate part of my daily life. But, if I sit back and really think about the information I put out there just by enabling location tracking on my devices, I start to rethink a lot of things. How much info about ourselves do we really want out there? I say as I pour my heart out to a bunch of strangers on the internet. The irony.
- Keyboard Warriors
I don’t even know where to start on this one. The drama that emerges on the internet between people who have never met one another before astounds me. Feuds coming from every direction possible. We’ve got the trolls who are doing nothing but pushing peoples buttons and waiting for the perfect explosion. We have individuals from every walk of life who talk a lot of shit they wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face. Keyboard Warriors, as they’re called. You know the ones I mean…probably sitting in Mom’s basement, screaming for her to bring them a cupcake and a beer while they play call of Duty in their underwear, empty Mountain Dew bottles and Doritos bags cluttering the floor. Yeah, those ones. People gain a certain confidence, or cockiness when they’re behind the protection of a computer screen. This can be a good thing if it’s executed properly.
For instance, this blog. Not only would I not feel comfortable saying all these things to people out loud, I don’t know who I would say them to in the first place. But, there are the others. Sudden experts on topics they didn’t know existed yesterday. But alas, they cannot be wrong. *Insert eyeball roll here. Use your internet courage for good things, folks. This world wide web will be a much friendlier place. (Never. Gonna. Happen.)
This one bugs me. People already don’t read anymore – not unless they have to. Except you, of course! 🙂 Anyway, there’s a lot more than just facts on the internet these days, and this is something some people still fail to realize. I see articles everyday posted that take a whole ten seconds to fact check. But, that doesn’t seem to matter. If it’s on Facebook or Twitter it must be true.
So yes, Social Media does have it’s downfalls. But, when used correctly, it is a very effective tool for gaining knowledge and networking with likeminded people.
Until next time,