Day 1: Document and Reflect
Every day, I wake up with the thought “What has happened in the world and my friends’ lives while I’ve been sleeping?” Nowadays, social media offers a great variety of platforms for tracking, following, and liking people, groups, and events. The social media platforms I use every day include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Every day, I begin with checking my friend’s updates on Instagram. As a matter of fact, I ‘like’ the posts that have caught my attention and even comment on the photos I’ve liked the most. I spend approximately 1 hour a day checking Instagram updates. As a rule, I post a fresh photo, more likely a selfie. After checking posts on Instagram, I check Facebook. First of all, I check the notifications about close friends’ updates. After checking these notifications, I check most recent posts, photos, and news. If there are some messages, I reply to them and move forward to checking Twitter. I check the most recent tweets of the people I follow and post my own ones if there is any thought or emotion worth sharing. I end the social media check, answering the messages or writing new messages in the Snapchat. I spend with the Social Media Platforms a great part of the day (approximately 4 hours).
I think that the thing that makes me use these Social Media Platforms is not the need, but the interest, habit, and free time. When I have some free time and I have my phone with me, I grab it and start doing habitual things like checking the updates on Facebook or Twitter. Moreover, the thing that attracts my attention to these platforms and that does not allow me concentrate fully on anything else is the endless flow of notifications (whether it is a new comment in Instagram, a new tweet in Twitter, or a message in Snapchat). What I feel when I use social media is weakness and paralysis. I know I waste my time doing unimportant and unnecessary things, and I simply lose the opportunity to live a real life, while living in a virtual one. I believe obsession with social media is an illness, not even an epidemics, but a pandemics of modern society.
Day 2: Abstain and Reflect
It was a difficult day while I lacked the feeling of having my phone in my hands. A spare-minute-habit (a habit when I have nothing to do and start checking the updates, writing posts about “How bored/happy/excited/disappointed I am”, liking and commenting others’ posts) is as obvious and obsessive as ever. It was strange and unusual not to see new photos, not to answer the messages, and not to retweet interesting thoughts. I started thinking whether my social network friends did not suppose that something bad had happened to me. However, all of my close people have my phone number and they will call in case they need me. As for the others, I have not disappeared and they can find me if they want.
I miss checking the new photos on Instagram. I feel like I lose the opportunity to share happiness, sorrow, or any other kind of emotion with others. I feel like I am from another planet, because I cannot get to know about anything new happening in other people’s lives (however, I still can ask my friends what is going on in Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Moreover, I feel extreme need of social media (the need not because of interest, but because of addiction). I have found the power to admit that I am a media-addict (the thing that makes me feel frightened is the awareness that the majority of population using social media are media-addicts as well). I started spending my free time differently. I cannot say that the way I spend my free time has changed completely, but still, it has changed. I have enough time to clean the room, read a book, or go for a walk.
Day 3: Abstain and Reflect
I still miss the new posts on Instagram, but I feel like I can live without endless flow of posts, shares, likes, messages, etc. I imagine as if I am on a desert island where there is no Internet connection and no mobile service. What I begin to feel is freedom and peace. However, my hands still miss holding something and liking, posting, or commenting. I start thinking of the things I can do in my free time and get some benefit from it. I have enough time to think what I want to do. Moreover, it is important to mention that, at last, I have time to think (I mean, simply sit and think about some things of interest). What is more, I have more time to communicate with my friends not through the social media platforms, but face-to-face in real life and in real time. It reminded me of my childhood when we used to spend the whole day playing outside, hiding one from another, and simply enjoying life. However, abstaining from the use of social media I feel like I can miss something important. One more thing worth mentioning is my emotional condition: while yesterday, I was a little bit irritated because of abstaining, today, I feel much better and feel like I can be cured of social-media-obsession and start living fully my life.
Day 4: Abstain and Reflect
Today was a day full of wise thoughts and observations. I got used to the thought that I did not have to take my phone or laptop and check social media. I feel like social media loses its power and its grasp weakens. I still miss, but not at the same extent as yesterday, my friend’s updates in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As for Snapchat, my friends supported me and did not write me messages but they called me any time they needed to tell me something or share some news. I was enlightened by the idea that nowadays, social media had replaced all types of relationship. There exist almost no forbidden topics, no intimate or secret themes. Every person’s (I mean the one using social media) life is an open book that anyone else can read. I noticed that the majority of people on the streets talk on their phones rather than talking to the surrounding people directly. As soon as someone gets married, he/she posts a photo claiming how happy he/she is. If a woman gives birth to a child, in no time she writes a post telling everyone the time, the weight, and the height of the child. I understand it is a happy moment and everyone wants to tell everyone about it. However, is the social media a good way of sharing such good news? Isn’t a family something sacred, intimate, and fragile, worth being cared of, but not being exposed? Is it a modern-relationship-fashion to date with a girl/boy, and instead of walking, breathing fresh air, talking, hugging, go to a restaurant, because you have to post a photo for others to see what, where, when and with whom you’ve eaten? It seems ridiculous that two loving and loved people sit at one table, and hold not each others hands, but their phones. I have decided to change my life a little, and if not to stop using social media at all, at least I will try to reduce its usage to a reasonable extent.
Nowadays, the world has reached a new development era, a technological one. As a result, media has become its most influential and significant feature. Social media is present in every aspect of human life, making it either easier or more complicated. However, the question whether media has more advantages or disadvantages remains open for discussion. Depending on how people use the social media, it can be either beneficial or harmful. Therefore, the factor of individual involvement in it can either accelerate success or failure. Basing on personal experience using social media and abstaining from it, the paper aims at figuring out the pros and cons of using social media platforms.
While youth can be most easily affected by social media, this impact on schools and colleges is worth mentioning. The main advantage of social media used at the collegiate and high school levels is that while it allows students to share their inner world with others, it teaches them to behave responsibly and makes them accountable for their words and actions. The familiarization with social media also provides good chances to find for a profitable job as media-savvy workers are of high demand nowadays. The thought that my parents or teachers can read the post I have shared, or see the photo I have uploaded makes me think twice before doing some particular action.
On the other hand, social media has valid and profound disadvantages. While it is extremely time-consuming, youngsters spend more time browsing the Internet than studying, reading, playing with each other, etc. Moreover, social media is considered to be “habit-forming”, making it difficult to separate virtual life from real one. If a person becomes too involved in all aspects of social media, he/she pays less attention to the real world. Being too concerned about what to write on Twitter or Facebook, or how many followers there are on Instagram creates a gap between the person’s real and social media life. Moreover, every person has to think thoroughly about the use of spending time sharing, posting, following, or liking. The real world offers so many interesting things to do while the majority of people waste it following others’ lives. Unfortunately, we lose our lives tracing others’. The thing every person has to keep in mind is that no one can return or stop the time.
What makes me angry about all modern social media platforms is that they deprive children of real childhood. I remember the times when there was no Internet, no mobile phones, and no social networks. I remember these times as the happiest and the most full-of-life times. I hate being paralyzed by the system of social media. I understand that it has obtained enough power to control my life, and the lives of every person in the world.
To conclude, the issue whether the influence of social media is good or bad is similar to the question whether gun is good or bad. While a soldier uses a gun to protect people from evil, a terrorist uses a gun to create the evil. According to the experiment conducted, data gathered and presented in the paper, discussion board post compulsory abstaining from social media is not a reasonable solution to reducing its disadvantages. In order to reduce the negative effects of social media and receive only the beneficial ones, it is important to teach people, youth, in particular, to use social media responsibly. All in all, depending on how social media is used, it can either lead to success or failure.