It seems as if anywhere we go, there is one thing we can’t get away from: social media.
Whether it’s people texting, using Facebook, tweeting or Instagramming, it seems as if society – especially people our age – seem more concerned with what’s going on online rather than what’s actually going on in front of them.
It’s almost as if we live two lives: one online and one actually in the world. I mean why else would we take all the pictures and post all the statuses? You don’t actually have to have the best night of your life at the party; you just have to make it seem like you did.
And this is an easy task: take a couple pictures – appropriate pictures – and tag your friends in a status. Everybody online won’t know the details of what actually happened that night, they’ll just know where you were.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social media can be extremely beneficial. Being a communications major, it’s pretty much essential that I keep my Twitter and Facebook up to date and professional. Actually, the company I have my internship with found me through Twitter.
What I don’t understand is that it seems like people are too dedicated to their online lives rather than their actual lives. Smartphones make it so easy to have everything at your fingertips and now when we’re just hanging out or watching something or doing something, we are also keeping our internet lives up to date.
It seems like, whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay and we can’t really change that. Although it may be rude to constantly be on your phone while you’re at a social event, we like telling other people what we’re doing.
For example, one of my favorite parts about the Presidential debates was watching my Twitter feed roll. There was more activity on my Twitter during the debates than I have ever seen – and I was a part of it. I wasn’t just watching, I was multitasking. I was watching the debates, tweeting about what I thought, reading other peoples’ tweets and Facebook posts and looking up things I didn’t understand.
During the first debate, 10.3 million tweets were sent making it the most tweeted political event in U.S. history. The second presidential debate sparked 7.2 million tweets. During the 2012 Olympic games, 3.5 million tweets contained the word “Olympics” during opening weekend. And not only were spectators tweeting about the games, the athletes were doing it as well. Some even called these past Olympic Games the “Twitter Olympics.” It became an interactive event and it seemed as if every tweet contained #TeamUSA.
During big events like the presidential debates or the Olympics, people like not only putting their opinion out there, but showing people that they were paying attention; it makes them feel important.
The point is that watching TV isn’t just watching TV anymore; it’s a completely interactive experience. Almost every TV show has a hashtag sitting in the bottom corner of the TV. And what do you do? You tweet using that hashtag and you see what other people are saying about the show as well. It makes you feel involved and like what you say makes a difference.
So what’s the key to not getting too invested in our online lives? Balance.
When you’re with a group of friends, you don’t need to check Facebook every two minutes. If you’re at a social event, it’s okay to post about it, but don’t post every single thought that comes into your head. That’s annoying for everyone.