Throughout the years my experiences with social media have changed quite a bit. In the beginning I used AIM and chatted with several of my friends. Then I created a profile on Facebook in the 8th grade, which was heavily monitored by my father. Soon after that, I got a MySpace account, which was also monitored by my dad. Now I use Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat on the daily. No matter what platform I use now or have used in the past, they all have one thing in common, they take up time. At school, before, after, and in between classes I’m constantly on social media sites on my phone, which I use through Apps. It’s honestly pathetic how much I’m on them.
Due to the loss of valuable time, I’ve taken vacations from social media sites and cut back on how much I’m on my phone. One year I think I took a 4 month break from Facebook. Although it helped me occupy my time in other/better ways, I kept thinking about how many notifications I was going to have. I would spend some of the time I wasn’t physically on Facebook, thinking about Facebook. It was ridiculous.
When it comes to connecting to people through this medium, I don’t think its very effective. Sure, I like some of my cousin’s pictures and post old pictures of me and my high school friends every Thursday, but other than that I don’t feel like my relationships are made stronger through this type of media. I get to see how other’s lives are going, or at least how they’re portrayed, but I don’t really feel like I’m improving or tending to relationships of those I can’t be with. I definitely don’t use social media to meet new people. I just have friends that I’ve met in the real world. Therefore, I have a multitude of “friends”/relationships, but they don’t compare to the quality of real life friends and family.
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The way people use social media makes it shallow and can be used for the wrong reasons, such as cyberbullying. One way to make these online platforms more positively integrated is through making children in schools aware of the harmful effects of online harassment which were clearly demonstrated in the excerpt from the article. Also, instead of just scrolling and scrolling through pages, or stalking ex boyfriends, people could start to use this medium for more rewarding reasons, such as only getting on to talk to an old friend or distant family member. I feel like all of these sites have become superficial and a way for people to mask who they really are and portray themselves as who they want to be. There’s really no way to ensure that social media will only be used to enhance interpersonal communication. It’s developed into more of a popularity contest with people, especially teens, counting their likes/retweets/comments. Overall, social media can be used as a tool to connect with others, which was the original purpose for them. It just depends on how you decide to utilize these websites with great networking potential.