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February 21st, 2013

Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 – the day my life changed forever. The day I finally stopped resisting the peer pressure from my friends and family and jumped on the Twitter train. It’s super exciting, right? I mean, I always get super excited whenever I find new outlets for procrastination. Plus, now I can use hashtags without looking like a total tool bag, because let’s be honest, only tools use hashtags on Facebook (#truth). I can also now participate in conversations about what is trending too, and I feel super proud of myself when I’m able to understand the Spanish trends. There’s just a lot of cool stuff I get to do now!

The thing is, I already knew about all of these things on Twitter for years before now. So why, you might ask, did I wait so long to jump on board? What finally pushed me over the break? Basically, the final push was the realization that social media is now an inextricable part of society. My father has always strongly resisted this idea, and for the longest time he would not even let me have a Facebook and refused to accept the fact that our generation has locked in on social networking sites, essentially replacing almost all other traditional forms of media. Because of him, I tried to resist the change too. Of course, I wanted Facebook really badly, and since I didn’t have texting in high school, I made one in secret in order to talk to my friends and share my dorky homecoming and theatre pictures and look at my crushes’ profiles. I understand now why my dad was so adamant about keeping me from social media. As I’m sure everyone who has a Facebook (or Twitter or MySpace or whatever) knows, once you are in, it’s nearly impossible to get out. I would honestly have a much better chance of getting an  A  on a physics test than being able to quit using Facebook; and saying I suck at physics would be an understatement. It’s actually a joke in my family about how hopeless I am when it comes to physics.

Anyway, the point is that it took me a long time to realize how dependent I, as well as pretty much everyone else I know, have become on social media. In a way, our dependency on these sites is a good thing. For example, I had the pleasure of taking Journalism with Dr. Buchanan last semester. As one would guess, the class focused on ways of developing into a successful, professional journalist. One of the issues that repeatedly surfaced in the class at least once a week was the need for all journalists to have an online presence, especially on Twitter. Why? Well, it’s because a majority of people nowadays demand information immediately, preferably as it is happening. No one wants to wait a day or two to read about a celebrity sex scandal or President Obama’s latest quotes when they can see it in a matter of seconds on Twitter. This makes perfect sense, too. There is about a million times more information available at our fingertips than there was just a couple decades ago, and therefore speedy access is a necessity.

However, the downside to all of this is, without a doubt, the ease in which we forfeit our privacy to partake in these networks. We willingly and perhaps ignorantly publish our personal information for literally anyone to look at, and for what? Think about it. What do we gain from sharing every little detail of our lives on a public forum for others to critique? It’s one thing to fish for compliments by posting bikini pictures on Facebook because  even though you know you look good,  you want to make sure you really look good. It’s a completely different thing, though, to publicize your romantic relationships by posting statuses or tweets like, “OMG I love my bf he is the best everrrrr <3,” and then 20 minutes later, “All boys are total jerks, I’m glad I’m single!” Seriously? Why would anyone want to share that with people they don’t even know? We all know how people judge, so what exactly do we think we are setting ourselves up for?

I’m done with the rhetorical questions now. I definitely am not trying to rip on everyone who uses Facebook and Twitter (because, obviously, I do too) nor do I want to criticize people who make their relationship statuses public. I love Facebook and my baby Twitter account. I just hope people will realize the ridiculousness of posting every little thing on these sites, because what’s the point?

Oh, one last thing– follow me  @graykay62!