A Week without Social Media

I’m behind on everything because I’ve been moving, but I can’t possibly let Harrisburg University’s week-long social media blackout pass without a comment.

I don’t know about you, but regardless of what justifications are put forth, this has “curmudgeon” written all over it.  Not necessarily old curmudgeon–the originator in his forties–but a curmudgeon nonetheless: “I made do without Facebook when I was your age and so can you!”

It’s an experiment, says Eric Darr, the professor enforcing it.  A learning experience.  At the end, students will write reflective essays about the experience (I’m sure they’re delighted about that).  But it’s hard to believe it’s a lesson rather than a punishment, given that it’s forced.  Students don’t have the choice to participate.  To make it a shared experience, Darr says, and to avoid the confusion of students not participating trying to get a hold of students who are.  If only there was a sort of shared personal website where someone could alert friends and acquaintances that one was going to be offline for a week.

Darr, along with a lot of over-35s, thinks that young people are becoming addicted and need to learn how to cope without social media.  Hogwash, I say.  There will always be new technology and it will always displace old ways of doing things and lifestyles will always change as a consequence.  It’s always possible to wean oneself off these advances and, yes, it requires adjustment, but who cares?

Because the same logic could be applied to cell phones or regular phones or email or all computers or all typing devices or written language as a whole or cars or wheeled transportation in general or just about everything else.  We could go for a week without any of these.  There are even arguments to be made for doing so: the ancient Celts swore that writing ruined your memory.  We’re now addicted to writing and can’t remember a thing we didn’t make a note of.

When I was growing up in the days before e-commerce, my parents booked all our airline tickets over the phone.  By the time I started booking my own flights, online was the norm.  I remember realizing that I didn’t know how to book plane tickets over the phone–not that I expect it to be difficult; I’ve just never done it.  This was quickly followed by the realization that it didn’t matter: I knew the correct current procedure, and the phone method was just one of a thousand slightly obsolete ways of doing things, not particularly better or worse than any other possible way of booking plane tickets, not even interesting enough to be a trivia fact, let alone worth actually doing.

And life without social media isn’t even that different!  I could see how it could be beneficial, if nerdy, to maybe live like pioneers for a week, washing your clothes in a tub and all the rest, because you’d be forced to actually make drastic lifestyle changes.  But having to text or email your friend instead of IMing him?  Not that different.

Fact is, Darr would probably never think of having a week-long fast from telephones or cars.  The very idea would strike him as silly.  He grew up with these conveniences and he knows that they didn’t make his generation a bunch of indolent imbeciles.  But like many middle-aged people, he understands the technologies of his time, knows how to navigate life with their aid, and doesn’t quite see the benefit of this new stuff–though its downsides are clear enough to him.  Quite possibly he holds a lingering resentment against these newer, more convenient ways of doing things, since they weren’t available to him at that age.  It’s a common sentiment, hence the eternal narrative that the next generation is growing up lazy because they’ve never learned how to work*.

Remember, I don’t even use social media.  My last Facebook update was changing my status from “single” to “married.”  But plenty of generations of new technologies and conveniences have gone by without the world imploding in an ADD-generated singularity.  Life changes.  It’s not a threat, it’s not the enemy, and you might as well get used to it.

—-

*There are reasons to think that this might actually be happening, but they are social, not technological.  Hiring a maid is a lot more likely to make you lazy than buying a washing machine.

Picture from Failbook (yes, I changed the picture; this one just seemed so appropriate).

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60 Comments

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60 responses to “A Week without Social Media

  1. hi dear how are you
    A liberally educated person meets new ideas with curiosity and fascination. An illiberally educated person meets new ideas with fear
    thanks

  2. Interesting post, but I don’t quite agree. It’s easy to say that this sort of attitude toward social media is the result of a “lingering resentment against these newer, more convenient ways of doing things,” but I know plenty of 20-somethings (including myself) who have mixed feelings about social media, and who occasionally take breaks from facebook and twitter. Suggesting that the professor enforcing the blackout is pushing this facebook-free week largely because of his age seems like a cheap way to avoid addressing the mixed feelings than many people, of all ages, have about these new social platforms.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you. I find that facebook can get really tiring after a while. It isn’t the concept of social networking, it’s the extras that come along with it. I don’t want to know what someone is doing every five minutes of every day.

  3. Like people breaking up via text and email, sometimes our new ways of communicating aren’t exactly the most productive in certain situations. I think the trick is to use it all (or whatever we want to use) but not to depend on it for everything.

  4. pranavgarg293

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  5. I like the blog. Good stuff. I agree that times change and social media and networks are just the latest advances of our technology.

    I do think it could be a good experiment though. I sometimes take a break from the internet. I try to use that time reading or going out to be with people.

    You are right though. An even better experiment would be to ask the teacher or professor to go one week without his car. They could tell him their great-great-great grandparents did it and it has benefits: they were healthier from walking and made more friends along the way.
    : )

  6. I like this post. I agree technology is ever-evolving and it doesn’t do much good trying to resist. Most of the time these advances make some part of life easier. I do think though we need to be careful to maintain a balance, as you said, to not totally depend on whatever technology it is that we’re using. So go ahead, use those social networking sites, but if your internet goes out for a few days, it shouldn’t mean the end of the world.

    Well written!

  7. If going a week without an unnecessary, particular technological device is going to cause a stir, then perhaps it’s a good idea to reevaluate. Which is what I see this professor doing.

  8. yarbroughm

    Brilliantly written, congrats on getting featured.

  9. Well said.

    A week away from running water, or a car, or electricity – none of these things are suggested to somehow make us smarter, or save us from abusing technology.

    I use the Internet instead of watching TV, personally. I didn’t cut out reading, or writing – in fact I make better decisions about everything from where to grab a cup of great coffee, to what new books and music to check out, to free concerts and community events, from Twitter and, less so, from Facebook – things I wouldn’t have found out any other way. Instead of passively watching re-runs or CNN on television, I participate in a global community.

    If I had to write an essay about a week-long social media black-out, it would probably read something like this:

    -watched a lot of reruns of The Simpsons
    -found out more than I needed to know about cold fronts affecting the midwest.
    -missed a free concert at the park, missed an author appearance at the bookstore.
    -didn’t know I had old school friends in town because they don’t have my phone number and assumed that my ignoring their Facebook message meant that I didn’t want to see them.

    Sounds fulfilling. Like spending a week as a pioneer without running water or electricity might.

  10. nelleytimes

    I have mixed feelings about this ‘experiment’. I have friends in their 30’s who are more addicted to facebook than my young cousins in their early teens.

    I agree with you and don’t see the purpose of this experiment unless he had added a few more parameters – like no texting, IM’ing, emailing, etc and you were only allowed to call friends on a cell or landline phone for the week. Otherwise what’s the point? I have accidentally gone several days with logging into FB (although I have to confess that I get updates on my BB so any major updates i receive automatically)

    People who didn’t read before aren’t suddenly going to pick up a book just because they don’t have facebook for a week.
    If anything, they’ll just watch more TV!

    I’m very curious to hear what the results are. I would like to hope that there’s more person to person interaction, but most of my invites to meet up with friends, etc. come via facebook!

    Good luck students!

  11. I can’t live w/ out social media! Ever hear of YouTube instant? It’s just like Google Instant! Stanford student accepts job via twitter! Check it out on my blog! Comment & Subscribe!

    http://spoiledeggs.wordpress.com/

  12. Very Well Written. Is Social Networking is beneficial or not? Either to use it or not? Who will decide this. People have different view about Social Networking. There are many blog written on similar topic’s. Whats the conclusion of all this?

  13. Since I have been kicked off facebook (http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/life-after-facebook/) I have much more time to write on my blog, to read, and to do other activities. Amazing how much time I wasted on facebook, mainly out of fear for missing something or just out of boredom-

    I don’t miss it enough to return.

  14. Pingback: A Week without Social Media « Chimaera | World Media Information

  15. surf72

    Interesting piece Katz, thank you for sharing your thoughts – one example of a positive side to social media is right [write] here!

    Social Media (SM) is perhaps aptly named for it is social by definition, many positives are alive through SM such as the less able to ‘get out and about’ are able to connect and be more social through a medium that is based on technology.

    Previously this may have been through a bridge club, visit to the park or in books and film. We humans are social by nature and therefore SM allows a portal to connect more immediately with those that we feel drawn to.

    Sure, there are negative sides to SM as there is in life itself, fundamentally however it is my belief that SM is a techno-reflection of the globalisation of the planet, the shrinking of distance between connections, an increase in shared knowledge and values resulting in perhaps a more networked response or [set of] actions to the core of the binding theme of such connections.

    I am a surfer and I enjoy blogging, I use it as a medium for self-education in terms of surf history, music, international development issues, literature etc and SM allows me to share immediately my thoughts and interests, thus connecting with others in a way that previously would have taken much longer.

    That said, I do surf and any connections that I (need to?) make can be actioned by simply thinking them into being, as is the Taoist way. I was raised with a TV in the house and during my hobo years (and still today) I live without a TV, I read more and surf more instead.

    To summarise: Social Media is driven by a wish to connect with other humans and by a basic requirement for love (Maslow). Without SM, changes would occur, event + response = outcome (Cranfield) that is all.

    Life goes on…

    Please share your comments and thoughts and I trust you enjoy the photography, philosophy, music and literature on my humble blog.

    Peace, love and jam sandwiches x

  16. Brandi

    As a 19 year old and not another “over-35s” I agree that the youth of today needs to reevaluate where they stand. It is ridiculous how dependent this generation is on updating everyone on absolutely everything. What happened to the aspect of privacy and letting those they deem trustworthy know what is important so one can not be exploited or their truths manipulated?

    So much time is spent rummaging through pointless internet pages that productivity does suffer. I know if my college professors allow laptops to take notes most if not all take advantage and the entire time they are on facebook and have no clue what is going on. You even have the generation before ours using it at work and regulations having to be enforced.

    I strongly disagree with your comparison to cars and telephones, the comparisons seems minimal in your argument and are heavily outweighed with the contrasting points. Cars and telephones assist productivity in many aspects, I can hardly list one that social networking websites do that another media can not replace.

    • I agree with you, Brandi.

      1)
      “Remember, I don’t even use social media. My last Facebook update was changing my status from “single” to “married.” But plenty of generations of new technologies and conveniences have gone by without the world imploding in an ADD-generated singularity. Life changes. It’s not a threat, it’s not the enemy, and you might as well get used to it.”

      ..perhaps that is one reason why you don’t feel the pervasive force social media (especially, the king, Facebook) can become in a person’s life, and is in society. As with most new things sweeping a lifestyle change, it’s always good to take a step back, a step down, and re-examine exactly how we have become in subscribing to it.

      Some might very well argue that our world is quite imploding in an ADD-generated singularity.

      2)
      “Fact is, Darr would probably never think of having a week-long fast from telephones or cars. ”

      ..more likely, being the professorial type he is, he’d be genuinely curious about the effects of such necessities that have come to be in our modern society, and would equally apply it to the phone or car. His point is that an entire generation is *quite suddenly and distinctly from the previous generatio* communicating (or self-presenting) completely differently- and not without some pretty gnarly repercussions.
      His explanation quite justifies the direction he intends with the social media blackout-
      “Often there are behaviors, habits, ways we use technology that we may ourselves not even be able to articulate because we’re not aware of them,” Darr says.

      3) i say, try getting into it, every day, several times a day, and see if your thinking or sense of self doesn’t change.

    • I agree that social networking on the internet is here to stay. Since the invention of walls with doors, people have been giving in to the need to knock on doors, asking people to let them in. We’re social creatures. But I totally agree with Brandi that it’s not really about the technology but what use we make of it.

      I’m under 35 and left facebook after becoming increasingly irritated by the way people were using a forum intended – I thought – connecting and staying in touch. Speaking only for what I observed in myself and my hundreds of close friends: facebook was breeding bad behavior. Social networking sites have given people the opportunity to show off and to portray themselves in disingenuous ways. That, in turn, created feelings of competition and ill-will. Status updates are often nothing more than one-upmanship

      I had friends not speak to each other because one girl intentionally tagged the other girl in a picture where she looked fat. It’s not just girls who get catty. Guys are just as bad.

      And another part of the problem is that we’re connected to people we don’t really like….but how else to get the number of friends up to 1000?

      I also think the need to tweet or status update about every little thing is not healthy. It’s not just sharing when you update your status on the stages of your mother’s death, then post her eulogy online, complete with stage directions on where you cried and where you choked up.
      It’s not therapy when you keep posting messages on the FB page of a girl who just died in a motorcycle accident, telling her how much you miss her. I doubt she’s checking FB from heaven, where you think she’s partying it up. This is not healthy: it’s disgusting behavior. Is nothing sacred anymore?

      So: An experiment in curbing that self-gratifying, attention-seeking, ego-indulgent urge? Create more awareness about this whole thing? Call me a curmudgeon, but I say go for it.

  17. bradenbost

    There is a nail, and you hit it on the head. I would want to link to my post about almost the exact same thing, but it doesn’t publish until tomorrow . . . so please stop by tomorrow at 12 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time and read.

    http://bradenbost.wordpress.com

  18. it has nothing to do with age, that is one thing i am sure we can all agree on. there are mothers fathers grandmothers grandfathers addicted to facebook. i 22 years old and deleted my account a couple of years ago because i do not want to depend on the internet to build relationships, meet people or communicate with those i love. since then i have become more productive in all aspects of my life and i haven’t had to forego spending time outdoors or making memories because i am not addicted to social networking. and guess what! i have more friends than before because i am not spending all day creeping on facebook profiles or trying to meet people online.

  19. Pingback: A Week without Social Media (via Chimaera) « Elizabeth's Blog

  20. I think you are being a little age discriminatory! I can not believe how so many people are up in arms over one College professors idea. I don’t think it’s bad to suggest such a thing, if there is NO problem, why is everyone freaking out. As for stopping FB, it should have been all forms of social media, just to show the “kids” how it was before and how they can live now without the NEED for this. My god, IT WON’T KILL THEM! If people are using SM 24/7/365, it might be nice for a break. As for your suggestion, maybe after the SM break, they ALL can try living with no Cars & washing machines. But they might find that they study more, they actually interact more socially LIVE with people during this week. Et tu Brutus? Why does it make you so uncomfortable? How would you want to live without your car or washing machine, why “the curmudgeon” teacher? He, the teacher, was also trying to show that the kids could maybe enjoy the freedom of just living not worrying about the instantaneous tether to answering every little momentary conscious thought they and each of their 1,000’s of “friends” have 24/7.

    evelyngarone.com

  21. “Social” networks like facebook, twitter, etc. are silly to me. There is no point. I think we kids would be a lot better off without them. It is a way to “stay connected”, but with teenagers that’s not really a good thing. More fights, more drama, more silly problems. People can pretty much see everyone else’s business without them even knowing, allowing more gossip. I strongly believe my high school years would have been a lot better without myspace, which used to be the big thing. If only I had known that then..
    😦
    I now do certain days where I do turn off my phone and television, as long as I’m not expecting anything important. Life is much more than technology.

  22. When I graduated high school in 1988 I delievered pizzas for a short while, and my only means of finding an address was a giant map on the wall of the pizza shop. no GoogleMaps, no Maps.com, no Bing… just my memory and maybe a notepad. These days I can’t find my way out of a parking lot without using my iPhone.

  23. I’m pretty sure my Journalism professors would absolutely love this post. Thanks for taking the time to write out what many people are thinking, but not saying anything about. It is completely true that the world of communication, transportation, and practically anything else is evolving into something more accessible for everyone, i.e. the internet. Several months ago, I wanted to disregard the internet completely, but after a couple hours of trying it, I realized that I communicate with so many more people online that I either can’t or don’t from my phone. It’s like you say, we should just get used to it because it’s becoming the norm for social function.
    Great post and congrats on making Freshly Pressed!

  24. Sunflowerdiva

    This post was very interesting, and I agree with you on many things. Since I’m just a teenager and don’t have to actually take care of my entire life, living without technology could be do-able, but tricky/irritating.

    Not until this summer did I finally get internet connection on my computer, and before I only used the computer for writing and occasional game playing.

    We lived without TV for about four years or something, before going back to get broadcasted channels. And let me say … no TV, only movies, was amazing.

    However, I don’t think I could live without a phone. I need to communicate with my mom, and it’s a safety thing. I remember that not until a year ago did I have texting–which sucked when I didn’t, because kids hardly ever talk on the phone anymore, so I couldn’t communicate with my friends!

    My mom runs her business from home, so she’s glued to her computer day and night. I remember when her computer got screwed up for a few weeks and she had no access to the internet, she realized how addicted she was and how different her life could be without technology.

    About the growing field of technology, such as iPods and Kindles and the likes, I’ve got mixed feelings about how everything is shaping. Machines are also replacing people at stores, causing many more people who are out of jobs. People also use the internet for everything instead of thinking for themselves.

    I often wonder what the world’s going to be like technology-wise in 50 years. Brilliant? Scary? Hopeless? I’m not sure. I think a mixture.

    Haha, I’ve gone on too long. I’ve veered off the main subject a bit, so I’ll wrap it up. Great post–it really got me thinking. And congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  25. what a great post! with social media taking over so much of our lives it would be interesting to see what we would do without it!

  26. Like many of your respondents, I have to agree that i have seen big changes with regard to the way students ages 18-24 behave when asked to turn off phones/laptops/iPods. It is definitely worth taking a break, just to notice how you feel. I love technology as much as the next person, but it is a time drain. All of it. I never had a cell phone until I was 32 years old – and I got it when my son was born as someone convinced me my car MIGHT break down and then what would I ever do?! The reality is we don’t NEED all this technological noise, and it keeps us isolated from each other.

    I am about to post something on my blog about how I am sad that cursive writing is going the way of the dinosaur. It’s happening. I don’t have to like it, but it is happening.

    Just because something exists and we CAN use it doesn’t mean it is good for us.

    Congrats on being “Freshly Pressed”!

    Maybe you’ll check out my bloggie – although, be forewarned, today’s entry is heavy.

    xoxoRASJ
    http://rasjacobson.wordpress.com

  27. Pingback: A Week without Social Media (via Chimaera) « Mr. Wilson's Webspace

  28. leegundi

    interesting 🙂

  29. Very nicely said. I tend to agree with you however I do think it would be nice if people took being social in real life a little more seriously as I find this era of social networking makes things far less intimate.

  30. Very nicely said. I tend to agree with you however

  31. eljuez24

    i tried, but i cant, its so cruel

  32. Pingback: A Week without Social Media (via Chimaera) « Ian's Business & Tech Blog

  33. Look, the key with Facebook is like any other addiction whether it be drugs or alcohol.

    The KEY is….to use it, and not to let it use you. Quite frankly, if you are logging into your facebook account 3 to 4 times a day and spending more time on it (to the detriment of your employers) are on it to the deprivation of your family or other relationships, then obviously it’s a problem.

    For people to deny that it is addictive and destructive to human relationships is just daft and naive.

    In fact, in divorce statistics, 1/5th of the reason for divorces has been Facebook. This is in the last couple of years. So while, I understand your principled defense of Facebook for some kind of grey-haired or blue-haired resistance againts technology…it’s just simplisitic. Facebook IS causing problems. It’s turning people more into robots and narcissistic fools and dragging them away from their humanity.

    Get it????

  34. I would have found the ban offensive if it have been forever, but it was only a week. A week everyone knew was coming, so they could have made plans on how to contact one another for the week. Also, it didn’t block Smart Phones. I’m not a huge social networker now that I’m out of college, but, I didn’t see a huge problem with the ban. It actually seemed to promote social networking just as much as showing our dependence. As soon as the ban happened there were several articles on how Facebook made it easier to plan student events and keep in contact with huge numbers of people. Maybe it was a silly experiment, but I think it was kind of funny. My joke was, “It was the week everyone’s grades dramatically went up…and then fell the next week.”

  35. I completely agree! I am an over 35er, however, I love social media. It conflicts with my husband who thinks I am addicted. He watches copious amounts of TV. His type of shows bore me. Why should I have to sit through his boring source of entertainment, which he is addicted to, when I could be enjoying social media? My question is: Why must it be called an addiction? I don’t enjoy fishing, yet never accuse those people of having an addiction. This is my source of entertainment.

    Now if I never spoke to people face to face…then I might be worried.
    Great post!

  36. Hi katz! Interesting post about your professor enforcing a week without facebook. I can imagine how it would be unimaginable for a lot of folks.

    I actually just made a post about my self-imposed exile from facebook and maybe you might find it interesting to read it: http://agnusnutter.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/quittingfacebook/

    Cheers.

  37. mountainofbooks

    I’m a little annoyed whenever I see an article written by an older person that criticizes newer technology. This doesn’t necessarily apply to this particular blog entry, but I hear a lot of older people talking about how kids put their potential careers in danger by posting *scandalous* pictures/posts on-line…and then you hear about 40-somethings business CEOs or politicians saying something stupid on Twitter that gets them fired. Bah.

  38. Like anything else in the world, social networks have a good side and abad side. They are good in such a way that they keep me alive and in touch with my long distance friends and family and they also keep me updated, sometimes I dont not need to buy papers. There by helping me save. However on the other side, they do take alot of time, you can be behind in everything else other than the social networks. But I can do without it for justa week, but I guess not more than tthat, because I need them for cheaper communication for the kind of business that I do. http://www.ugandasafariguide.com

  39. You really don’t know what you’re talking about do you? Microsoft had to lend Apple 150 million dollars so that they wouldn’t go out of business because they had fired Steve Jobs and were failing miserably.

  40. People on social networking seem like idiots because they are idiots but that isn’t the fault of the social networking sites.

    That’s just the nature of the world.

  41. love it!
    someone will always take the other side of the argument. always.
    and things always have pros and cons. always.
    =)

  42. I wrote a blog on a similar topic. I agree that we can´t “stop” using the technological developments, but there is a point where some people overuse the products etc.
    My post was called “The Age of Technology: Age of Absentmindedness”
    http://universecityblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/age-of-technology-age-of-absent-mindedness/

  43. A very interesting post. How true that said professor would never think to take a break from cars or telephones. I will have to use that one in my next parental debate, haha!

  44. Interesting, but sometimes our disdain for social media simply comes from the fact that it is unfamiliar.

  45. ryoko861

    The problem I have with professors is that they look too deep into everything. I’m a baby boomer as well. I didn’t get my first push button telephone until I was 16 and I thought THAT was convenience! What would the professor do if the tele phones went out? Use his cell?? HMMMM?

  46. Good post. Don’t really agree with it though. Just by going off of what you had said, it seems to me that the professor was trying to illustrate that while the technological advances are good, it makes us more dislocated from each other. People are texting and facebooking each other more than calling and face to face interactions.

  47. romulus141

    Great post and comments here. The consequences of social media are certainly far-reaching, and it’s difficult to pin down what’s beneficial and what’s dangerous.

    My issue with the professor’s “experiment” was that it was compulsory. Social experiments require that the volunteers are willing, even if the point of the experiment itself is initially unclear to the participants. Forcing the entire campus to participate goes against the spirit of free thought and inquiry.

    I think a few points can be set down.

    – Like all of life, a moderate approach is probably the best way to handle social media. Social media is at its most useful when trying to contact someone you haven’t seen in years or if you need to correspond with someone who’s e-mail or telephone number you may not have. For example, my fiance and I are alumni of a collegiate organization. For several years we’ve done legwork in contacting newly graduated people affiliated with this organization in order to set up annual reunions. Facebook is invaluable in this sense. It would be much more difficult to do this using traditional methods of communication. But using Facebook updates for attention whoring, for social status, and as a replacement for all interaction is improper IMO.

    – As internet access has become more widespread, I’ve personally noticed the need to take breaks from it. When I first got my iPhone, I used it a lot: while watching TV, when laying in bed, while waiting a few moments for something, etc. I quickly felt burnt out all the time. I scaled back my usage, and my mind cleared up. Although I don’t have a source at hand, I believe there have been recent studies showing that constant visual stimulus of this type has a negative impact on brain response and on temperament. So, with a grain of salt, I would argue that if social media is causing one to bury his/her head in a cell phone or laptop all day, then some re-prioritizing is in order. It is particularly important for parents to impart this to teens as much as is possible. Best way to do this is make sure they have something else to do besides login to Facebook and text all day.

    – If a divorce or breakup happens due to transgressions on Facebook, there were already issues present in that relationship. The social site was just the catalyst that brought those problems to the surface, it was not the cause. Facebook will not turn you into a cheater or abuser, but it can enable or make those qualities easier to detect. If your spouse refuses to friend you on Facebook, or a boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up over the site, then that is a reflection on that person and the nature of the relationship, not evidence that Facebook destroys partnerships.

    – I, and probably many others, used to use social media more heavily. As the years have passed, I’ve scaled back on my usage. I don’t post updates all that frequently anymore, and I certainly don’t post updates that only fuel drama. I see no point in complaining like that in a public forum, it’s pathetic. At this point, my Facebook page is a place where I post major updates so my friends (recently went through my friends list and deleted everyone that wasn’t actually a friend) can keep tabs on major events in my life, I post creative projects for sharing purposes, or share photos from a trip or event. This was because my actual life became more involved, and with my energies directed elsewhere, the drive to update Facebook constantly slowly faded away. So, teens will update all the time because they usually have nothing better to do. Adults that do this generally have no hobbies, and should probably find one.

    Just my thoughts.

  48. if it were me at that college I would have probably asked for my money back. How do they get away with a forced ban? That’s ridiculous.

  49. Interesting and well-put post on a very current topic. I enjoyed reading this, as you express neatly and clearly many of my own opinions in regards to the growth of the social media and the reaction of many from the older generations.

  50. katz

    Thanks for all the thoughtful comments, you guys. Ironically, yet relevantly, my internet has been down.

    As aforementioned, I am not a social media user myself. I used IM as a middle schooler for a while until I got bored of conversations popping up while I was trying to do other things. I was on Facebook in college until they added the news feed, which annoyed me (yes, I quit Facebook when it was still just for college students). So I share a mentality with those of you who just don’t see the point.

    But I also don’t think that it’s a problem. Yes, stupid stuff happens on Facebook, but it’s difficult to show that Facebook causes the stupidity (it’s undoubtedly effective at publicizing it).

    In particular, I find the argument that social media gets in the way of real relationships to not be very compelling. Sure, an IM conversation is inferior to a face-to-face conversation, but it isn’t as if it’s a zero-sum situation. My husband likes to pop onto IM to see if people are home before going over for a visit. It’s easier to tell everyone that there will be cinnamon rolls and games at our place on Facebook than it would be to call everyone individually. And a lot of the conversations that take place this way simply wouldn’t have happened otherwise, because they were between, say, three friends in three different states.

    So, like anything, social media has good points and bad points, and the cultural changes it will make will be mixed. But it isn’t bringing us down; it isn’t an addiction any more than always answering the phone is an addiction (I dare you to prove you’re not phone reliant by not answering the next five calls you get. No checking your messages or missed calls, either!); it’s just a different way of doing things.

  51. Ann

    I like the tags that you used specially the “get a life” 🙂
    As much as I love technology, I think it sometimes can be too much of an interference with our daily lives.

  52. Amazing thoughts..you deserved well on getting featured.

  53. NikiD

    Thanks for the insight. I think the reflections the students write will tell a lot – how many of them really went the whole week without Facebook?…considering our cell phones and other gadgets allow us to connect in ways we couldn’t even a few years ago. Not to mention, students who live off campus still had access to personal computers with Facebook. I question how many really followed the week-off mandate. I wouldn’t have as a student, and even now as a young faculty member, probably wouldn’t have complied on my personal time.

  54. Mary

    Try going to Burning Man for a week. Works like a charm. Still social; just not social media.

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