The Many Faces of Social Media


Facebook – Birgerking- Flickr

In a modern era where everything is viral and most young people would rather lose a limb than go without their phone for a day, social media seems to be reaching the dizziest of heights. As of September 2012, Facebook had reached 1 billion active monthly users while Twitter, going back a bit further, boasted figures of 230m tweets being send per day in 2011, with that figure no doubt much higher now. With such massive circulation of sites like these, the purpose they serve is obviously going to differ depending on the individual. What started off as a handy way of staying in touch with your friends, has escalated into much more, with increasing numbers of people using social networking sites to tell anyone that is willing to listen about every aspect of their daily lives.

We all have these sorts of friends on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Take the moaners, with their “having such a bad day. I HATE MY LIFE” statuses and tweets. They never want to go into any further detail because the thing they’ve just shared with all 200 of their followers is “just too personal”. We all know a few online philosophers as well, who insist on letting us know their deep and thought out opinion on everything that happens in the world. It’s usually anchored by a quote like “the state of your life is nothing more than a state of your mind”, which, let’s be honest, we know they’ve just found by typing “meaningful quotes” into Google. Then there’s the checker-inners, who think their lives are that interesting that they should let us know wherever they are, all the time: Katie checked into “my toilet” with – think I might be here a while, LOL!. And finally there are those who seem to think that they are the only human being on the planet with the gift of sight, and therefore it is their duty to inform the rest of us that “omg it’s raining” or that “wow, the moon is really yellow tonight”. To those people, the rest of us can in fact see, but thanks for devoting your time.

When did social media become so overwhelmed with this nonsense? Facebook used to be about making fun of drunken pictures of your friends and abusing the chat option because you were too cheap to buy a phone top up and text somebody. Does nobody remember when Twitter was about talking to your friends and hunting for a retweet from a celebrity? Gone are these simpler days.

The benefits of social media cannot be denied and there’s no doubt that they have added something to the technological experience of today’s tuned in generation. That being said, we all yearn for the day when we check our newsfeeds and don’t have to hear intimate details of our friend’s relationship with their new boyfriend. They can keep that to themselves.