According to a November 2014 online survey by Cowen and Company, adults spend an average of 42.1 minutes a day on Facebook, 21.2 minutes on Instagram and 17.1 minutes on Twitter. Just to put things into perspective, that is a total of 1 hour and 34 minutes of our day that we spend sat in front of a screen, ‘socialising’.
Back in the ‘old days’ when society seemed a lot simpler, penny sweets actually did cost 1p and my tamagotchi was just hatching out of its egg, the term ‘socialising’ meant something different, as seen here:
To Socialize- intransitive verb
– to participate actively in a social group
(notice the use of the word ‘active’…)
Social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and twitter were, however created with honest intentions.
Facebook was originally founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard University friends in February 2004 when membership was limited to Harvard students only. However this later expanded to Universities in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University, where it quickly gained support and popularity. In 2006 the social networking site became open to anyone above 13 years old (depending on local laws) and has since gone on to amass over 1.35 billion users around the world.
Explaining the idea behind Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg posted an open letter onto the site in 2006, saying:
“When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better. I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with.
We made the site so that all of our members are a part of smaller networks like schools, companies or regions, so you can only see the profiles of people who are in your networks and your friends. We did this to make sure you could share information with the people you care about.”
-probably posted whilst he was sipping champagne on his multi-million pound yacht in the south of France.
Although this original bright outlook on Facebook seems very warmhearted and optimistic, after scrolling through my own newsfeed and seeing ‘wachh out 2nyt laydeeeez, max aka da pussy destroyer is out on da twn wiv ma niggas 4 life?!’ as a 17 year old’s status, I can’t help but feel that Facebook is possibly being utilised in the wrong manner.
Also, max, I don’t know if anyone has made you aware of this but you and you’re friends are in fact… white.
Furthermore social media has become more sexualised than some mainstream porn sites. Just type ‘model’ into your Instagram search bar and you will be bombarded with images of half-naked men and women.
Wow that’s a lot of boobs.
Gone are the days of sharing graduation photos between family members and in its place are photos and videos telling me that I should go and start drowning my body in protein shakes and do loads of squats- because real men with real beards love real big asses on women. And I practically don’t even have to eat anymore because all of you professional food critics will be uploading pics around dinner time of the £50 steak you just ate at some french restaurant I’ve never even heard of and I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist.
And it’s not just the way we use social networking sites that has become a cause for concern but it’s also the amount we use them- and the effects this can have on our mental health. According to Retrevo Gadgetology, 42% of us check Facebook and Twitter as soon as we wake up.
What happened to deciding whether to have hot or cold milk with your Weetabix or strategically placing your entire days outfit on the radiator so you don’t feel like you’re climbing out of the shower and embarking on an expedition across the antarctic?
And checking social media too often can also be depressing according to a study by the University of Missouri who found that spending too much time on Facebook can cause symptoms of depression, triggered by feelings of jealousy and envy. And why wouldn’t it, when it has changed and transformed from a platform of connectedness and togetherness to one of competition and popularity.
Although there are positive outcomes to using Facebook, in the cases where it is actually used to connect with family and friends, keep us informed on news topics and help us to forge new friendships – I can’t help but feel that Social media has somehow started to turn us into a bunch of braindead attention-seeking zombies, hell-bent on immediate gratification which we receive whenever someone hits the ‘like’ button on our post. Instead of living our own lives in the real world, we have become obsessed with mindlessly staring at the lives of others.
Sadly a large majority of us have inadvertently become a generation of sneaky, silent stalkers with credentials that could most likely opportune us a job with MI5 without the need for an interview. So perhaps we should re-think the way we use social media networks, reduce the time we spend on them and get down to some real socialising with real people. And it would be great to see less photos of your 250 calorie protein bars, half naked twerking ‘fitfam’ members and the expensive material goods you own and more of the real, human you.
P.s can someone PLEASE tell me what the F*** ‘on fleek’ means?