I can admit that I have an addiction problem. And what is it that I am addicted to? Two words: social media. I use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, etc. on an hourly basis. I am especially addicted to Facebook and Instagram. Networks such as Facebook and Instagram have given me the ability to connect with friends and family all over America but have also become one of my worst demises. I have become trapped into a consistent cycle of checking my newsfeed because yes – I can admit, I suffer from FOMO. FOMO stands for the Fear of Missing Out and is an actual syndrome. According to Linda Sapadin (2015), writer for the World of Psychology blog, states,
“FOMO is especially strong for those who are hooked on social media. Why? Because they’re constantly aware of what others are doing…on social media, everyone’s flaunting what they’re doing, with whom they’re doing it and posts are loaded with exclamation marks!!! With such pressure, it’s no surprise that teens are checking their phone every two minutes to make sure they’re not missing out on anything “important”.”
The addiction to social media has become so prevalent in todays society, this behavior has become a habit. Sometimes, I find myself reaching for my phone and unlocking it only to realize I have nothing better to do or I am subconsciously unlocking my phone for no reason other than it being a normal action I perform. Of course, the social media addiction has become so current only because networks have come such a far way from just being a chat box on a gmail account.
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Social media has had such an immense impact on society today and has ultimately changed the world for the better and for the worse. Social media offers worldwide connectivity, offers individual users the chance to connect/befriend others with common interests, allows individual users the chance to communicate real-time information, and can be used as a medium to share newsworthy information (Claywell, 2013). These positives of using social networking websites don’t come without their disadvantages, however. Social media has also increased the risk of cyberbullying and crimes, the risk of fraud/identity theft, and can often times be distracting or a way to waste time (Claywell, 2013).
“86 percent [of teens] say they have changed how they use social media in some way compared to the past” (American Press Institute, 2015). As recognized by the American Press Institute, teens have changed the way in which they have used social media over time by paying more attention to privacy settings, removing embarrassing information/photos, tailoring the way different social networking platforms are used, and have even stopped using some social networking platforms in all (American Press Institute, 2015). Additionally, teens have connected more with others personally and professionally over time. Image Credit: American Press Institute
Many Millennials have become so avid in using social media, branding oneself is very common across different profiles. Specifically, the social network, Vine, has become a huge platform where “the average joe” can become internet famous just by posting a funny, clever 6 second video of themselves that loops. Large companies such as Coca-Cola
Image Credit: BBC News
or Apple have paid Vine stars to endorse their products in their videos as a way to reach other Millennials, “…advertisers are taking a risk associating themselves with uncoached youngsters thrust into the public eye…the the ballpark rate most Viners charge is about $1,000 per 100,000 followers…” (Regan, 2014).
Overall, the addiction to social media is unhealthy, but social media has been incredibly effective in keeping Millennials informed and has proven to change habits over a period of time.
(2015, March 16). How millennials use and control social media. American Press Institute. Retrieved from https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/millennials-social-media/
Claywell, C. (2013). Advantages and disadvantages of social networking. Retrieved from http://socialnetworking.lovetoknow.com/Advantages_and_Disadvantages_of_Social_Networking
Morris, Regan. (2014, August 13). Vine’s six-second-clip superstars turn fame into cash. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28692871
Sapadin, Linda. (2015). Fear of missing out [Blog]. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/10/12/fear-of-missing-out/