Monday, January 23, 2012

Social Media Overload

Stephanie Rosenbloom,

I will start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article that touches on the pressures of social media in today's society. Facebook and Twitter have already taken over, so to speak, and newer sites like Google+ are making a push to become more popular. Through my personal experiences, I have noticed that Facebook and Twitter are generally used by teenagers and students as a way to communicate with friends and share similar ideas and interests. Unfortunately, it seems to have become almost a way-of-life for the younger generation. To help illustrate what I mean I will use the example of my younger cousin, who is a freshman in high school. She uses social media sites all day every day. Just now, I checked her Facebook and counted 47 posts/status updates made by her over the last three days. You can do the math; that is roughly 15 posts/updates per day. And the content of the posts were all very similar; everyday events or activities that I personally would need to tell the world about on a daily basis. But noticing things like this have opened my eyes to the shift that our society is experiencing, and made me realize that I may underestimate the importance that people place on social media sites.

I liked your example of Ms. Lawrence and how she has used these sites for real life applications. Twitter helped her to legitimately improve her life and make strides that otherwise may have never been possible. It was refreshing to hear that at least one person out there is using social media as a means to better themselves. One point I found especially noteworthy was when you spoke about Mr. Kaufman and the way that he enjoys checking his social networking notifications because they have the "water cooler effect" for him. This point highlights another shift our society is notiving: the growth of the weisure lifestyle. Technology has made it all too easy for people to work remotely from home or vacation using their laptop or smartphones. It is becoming easier and easier to maintain a full time position and never need to step foot in an office. A major downside to this method of work is that there is little to no face-to-face interaction with coworkers or clients. Social media, at least in the case of Mr. Lawrence, fills that void by allowing him to communicate with those people instantly. While it does not fully replace face-to-face communication, it may serve as a viable substitute and still make it possible to establish personal connections with clients.

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