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Are Online Social Networks Taking Over Your Life?

The Problem

It is 6:00 in the morning, your alarm just went off and this time you have to get up because you have pressed the snooze button several times. Before you do anything like get out of bed, brush your teeth, or take a shower, you do what the average person is doing upon waking up these days: checking your Blackberry, iPhone or any other manmade device for Facebook, Twitter or email updates. Do you think this is normal? I assure you it is not.

I must admit, I am a technology junkie in many respects as well. I mean I am currently writing this article on my rather pricey laptop. The thought of living without my computer scares me half to death. Technology initially began as a means of making communication easier. As a result, the printing press, the telephone and the internet were introduced. These technological advancements drastically changed society, helping improve human links across the board. Communication is the key to improving all kinds of relationships, whether it is a familial affiliation, love bond, or business connection. Despite the fact that we are communicating more as a result of technology, the majority of the communication seems rather impersonal thanks to social websites like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Facebook.com “more than 250 million people have Facebook accounts and the average user has at least 120 friends.” Think of all of the friends you have on Facebook. Do you really know all of them? Probably not. More than half of those “friends” are people you might have passed by without saying hello to at the dining hall in college. Some of them you have never even had a conversation with. Yet still, they have access to hundreds of photos of you, your family, friends, as well as educational and career info. What sense does this make? Some will say, “I only use Facebook for networking purposes.” Really? When push comes to shove and you are looking for a job, are you likely to go to a social network before you talk to someone you know? I think the average individual would prefer the latter. Nevertheless, as time goes by, people continue to be attached to smart phones at any given moment in order to ensure they haven’t missed a beat on all of the social networks they are addicted to.

Another social network that has become very popular recently is Twitter, which is a free social networking service that allows you to create 140 character long messages or tweets as they are referred to. Because each message or tweet can only be 140 characters long, Twitter is also known as “the SMS of the internet.” According to Twitter statistics, “every month over 6 million people use Twitter.” I must admit, I have become quite a fan of Twitter in the past 4 months, because I love writing short messages throughout the day as a sort of public diary. On Twitter, I don’t have to look at photo albums or educational info, it’s merely words. Yet still, when I think about how much time I have spent on Twitter at home, at work and even on the road (thanks to my handy dandy Samsung Behold phone) it is absurd! I could have surely spent that time doing something much more productive.

The Solution

So what are we to do now? Should we stop being social network fanatics? Shall we stop staring at our Blackberries while on a first date? Yes! The time is now. There is nothing wrong with being on a social network like Facebook or Twitter. It is nice to keep in touch with old friends and even make new cyber friends as a result of these social networks. Yet still, it is important to keep your priorities in order. If you are at work, save the social networks for when you get home, or for your lunch break. If you are on public transportation check some status updates on Facebook or some tweets on Twitter, but don’t miss your stop! If you are driving, you shouldn’t be on your phone at all, unless you are in the passenger seat! If you are at home, depending on your lifestyle, make sure you make time for family, friends and children. Staring at your phone while enjoying quality time with your spouse or mate is very unattractive and it only makes that person feel unloved. Set aside specific time to enjoy social networking, so that you always have your priorities in place: Family, friends, career, etc.

Technology has definitely altered society for the better. However, it has also made some things worse, like the way we communicate. If you have a friend on Facebook or Twitter, and you want to have a nice lunch, try calling them up. The community will be increased through the instant followers on the account. The charges of purchasing the followers will be under the funds available with the person. Proper research should be done at the sites for purchasing of the followers.   I’m sure you haven’t heard that person’s voice in a long time. Yes it is nice to look at their “page” sometimes; it is even nicer to look at their faces in person.

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