One Mississ – Buzzzzzz!!! – Ugh. Let’s try that again. One Miss – Beep beep!!! Seriously? Can I get through one second without – Riiiiiing! Clearly not.
My name is Brittany, I am 21 years old and I have been addicted to social media for seven years. As my mom always asks when I’m home from school, “Does that thing ever stop buzzing?” in regard to my phone. The answer is no. I am constantly getting updates from the Wall Street Journal, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. My phone is with me 24/7, even when I sleep. It has a nice, comfy spot right next to my pillow so I can conveniently see what is going on if it lights up without even having to move an inch. How great is that?! One time I even called my phone to find my phone. Yes, I was attempting to call the device that was located in my hand. Yet my mom consistently forgets about her phone. She is so unattached to her phone that she left it in a completely different state once while traveling. But why is there this addiction to technology and social media for the younger generations?
The answer? We were introduced to social media before we even knew what it was. Remember those Club Penguin and Webkinz days? Oh yeah, you do. Don’t lie. This was when my addiction started. The necessity to take care of my puffle on Club Penguin quickly turned into needing to water my crops on Farmville. I cannot get through a task without making sure that I didn’t miss a notification or that I’ve seen the most recent Snapchat story. Hint: Check out my social media count at the bottom. It’s how many times I’ve checked each social media outlet throughout writing this post. We are unable to escape social media, but why? What are these companies doing that makes it so addictive?
This is what I had hoped to learn when I registered for Professor Kane’s Social Media & Digital Business class, expecting to learn about how each company runs, but after the first class, I knew this class wouldn’t be like any other. So let me run you through a Sparknotes of my thoughts.
1. Registration – A class about Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook? Sweet. Sign me up. This thing will be a piece of cake.
2. Pre-class – Oh wait, this is a class with grad students? I got asked if I was a freshman today. This can’t go well.
3. Canvas – Sees “NOTE: THE COURSE FOR FALL 2017 IS STILL IN DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE DO NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS WHEN EVERYTHING CAN BE EXPLAINED” Crap.
4. Walking into class – Oh wow, I’m shorter than I thought. Wait, we have to tweet? How many tweets? A blog? A presentation? Reading groups? Snack groups? Comments? Woah, slow down.
5. Walking out of class
But it made me think deeper about social media than I had ever thought before. Where does the addition stem from? It’s an addiction that has consumed me even today. How many steps did you do today is old news. The real question is how far has your thumb scrolled? Ha, I’ll tell you. A Reddit user by the username of TimS194 did the math. He estimated that people spend 90 minutes a day on their phone, which in a two-year period rounds out to 176.5 days of usage. Woah, back up. That’s almost half a year. Can you imagine what we could do with that amount of time? Now, as a social media addict, I can tell you that I definitely spend more than 90 minutes a day on my phone, but I’ll go along with it. He continued to say that he assumed every 5 seconds is equal to 30 centimeters of scrolling. So it turns out that 90 minutes per day multiplied by 30 cm per every 5 seconds for two years is 147 MILES.
Being at a Jesuit school, I can’t help but to think of how many people we could help in those extra 176.5 days if we didn’t spend so much time looking down at a screen. Instead of meeting new people and having conversations, our eyes are fixated on an object that in the long run, does it really even bring us any greater happiness? Do we ever think back to a time we were on our phones that we can say, “Wow, that hour of looking through Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat really enhanced my life.” Probably not. But will this encourage me to stop using social media? Sorry to disappoint those of you reading along who thought I might have come to some magical enlightenment to boycott social media, but simply, the answer is a hard no.
Social media can be used in a beneficial way that most of the people in the generations above me do not recognize. It is how I have been keeping an eye on Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. It is how millions of people watched the Solar Eclipse. It is how we share memories with family members across the country. It is how the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral and raised over $220 million for ALS, which led to the discovery of a treatment for ALS patients. It is how GoFundMe has raised over $3 billion since it’s start in 2010. It is how the Red Cross has been able to raise money for disasters that they provide relief for. It is how we keep in sync with the world. For every one reason I think of my addiction to social media as bad, I think of one reason why it’s actually good for learning about other cultures, cities, and countries when you can’t be right in the middle of the story. So to the older generation that looks upon us millennials negatively, it’s time for you to open your eyes and realize that this trend began over 10 years ago, and that it’s not really a bad thing. It’s powerful in a great way and is so much more beyond the surface.
Social Media Count:
• Snapchat: 6
• Twitter: 3
• Facebook: 4
• Instagram: 2