BY JORDIN GIGNAC // EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr – it’s no surprise our eyes are glued to our cell phones. There is always something to check, always something to be updated on… and for some reason, we can’t bare to miss a second of it.
Social media is popular and trending. It’s talked about on TV shows; it’s written about in newspapers, it’s even rapped about. But what will those 140 characters do for you later in life? I think nothing. The problem with using social media, is the overuse of social media and the fact that we need to stop hiding behind it.
A study done by Nokia shows an
average person checks their phone about 150 times per day. That means checking your phone at the dinner table, walking down the hall and all the rest of your idle time is spent looking at a screen. I think most of the time spent looking at your phone could be spent having actual social interaction. The number of people checking their phones at the wrong times, is hindering our communication skills. According to a study done by non-profit Anxiety UK, 45 percent of Facebook users and email dependents felt anxiety when they were away from their phones. If we continue to learn how to only communicate through social media, our anxiety is going to skyrocket when it comes down to becoming fully independent. As college students, our independence is peaking; we need to step away from the phones and learn to talk with our mouths, instead of our fingers.
When we don’t step away from our phones, we lose the ability to deal with our emotions up front. I have had professors say on the first day of class, “I do not want to answer questions via email when you can ask me during class.” I agree with them too because why would you want to ask in an email and only get words back when you can get emotions and body language back as well? That’s the biggest problem I see with our tech savvy generation. We lack the ability to confront our feelings in front of others, but when we’re behind a keyboard it seems easier. This virtual escape from reality is far overrated and in all honesty, we should not be shooting for a life like the film from 2009, “Surrogates”. If you are so scared of confronting your problem face-to-face, that should be a warning sign; get off the social media sites. What are they offering you? A place to write your feelings and opinions down? Get a diary. Is it because you want to keep in touch with friends and family? You have a cell phone, call them! Hearing someone’s voice is a step in the right direction to becoming a better communicator.
The solution resides in each of you as individuals. You have to say no to social media when you’re bored. It’s like eating when you have nothing else to do; you just end up gaining weight you would rather not have. With social media, you’ll end up having trouble confronting the world when you’re not behind a computer. Make sure you don’t lose sight of the importance of communication. When it comes to finding a job, your interpersonal skills will make or break an employer’s decision.
Does technology help or hinder social interaction?
“Face-to-face interaction has a lot of value. I don’t think [Facebook] is a good way to make friends, but it’s a good way to keep friends.” - Katie Miller, 22
“Well, it’s good and bad. With Skype, you can see someone but you can’t touch them.” - Illyria Shores, 22
“Technology helps because if I couldn’t text someone, I couldn’t get together with them.” - Jackie Teask, 25
“It hinders you as far as seeing them face-to-face. It’s actually real interaction and I can tell what their emotions are.” - Adam Boyers, 19
“Technology influences social interaction. It’s good for me because I can see my parents in Korea. Although, I can’t feel their emotion, [I can still contact them].” - Yunjae Lee, 21