Social media affects us all: Are you addicted?

Technological advancements in the 21st century have increased people’s social media consumption to the extent that it potentially affects people’s productivity. 

The use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have been essential to modern communication in giving people the ability to connect with one another.  

Dr. Barbara Schleppenbach, associate professor of communication at Quincy University and a Ph.D graduate of Stanford University, had a lot of adequate information regarding this topic. 

She has served as a member of the faculty and administration of QU since 1975 and her primary academic interests include theories of communication and the teaching of writing. 

Social media can be very dangerous, although Schleppenbach anticipates there are more pros than cons. 

Schleppenbach believes social media is taken for granted and students struggle to be strategic with it. 

“The phone itself could have a lot of negatives. But social media can help connect people with the positive of others. It helps some people express themselves and go on and be more comfortable doing it somewhere else. It doesn’t have to be a problem. I would definitely say better overall.” Schleppenbach said. 

However, there are cons as well, as the number of people using social media have continued to rise, the daily time spent on social networking has too. 

In 2012, people spent 90 minutes per day on social media, and just seven years later it has almost doubled at an estimated time of 153 minutes per day for 2019. 

Assuming the average lifespan of a person is 72, and if they start using social media as young as 10, that means the average person will devote a total of 3,462,390 minutes (6 years and 8 months)  over their lifetime.

“Because social media is most frequently accessed via smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO),” According to Psychology Today.

Social media can be a good avenue for building a successful network and communicating, but people may say some things accidentally that they regret.

The Washington Post reporter who tweeted the headline about the ‘rape trial’ immediately after Kobe Bryant’s crash was announced is a good example.

“She was in hot water right away and got suspended because Twitter blew up with anger,” Schleppenbach said. “She’s back in the fold now and is ok, but when people are shocked, their response to anything negative is to go let her know how they feel. And so, you’re not invisible there. That’s the thing you want to teach kids.”

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