Chole Rothman ‘15
Average freshman use of social media:
Facebook: 5.78 times per day
Instagram: 11.125 times per day
Twitter: 10.75 times per day
Despite all of the negative hype regarding social media these days, the addictive pleasures of modern generations are becoming more and more prevalent. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the easy gateways into friend’s lives, are accessed more regularly than college kids access the library. A strong majority of the present youth is abusing this online craze while those on the other side of the spectrum are expressing their worry. Plenty of concerns surround this growing virtual movement; a lack of interactions face to face, a decline in books being checked out from local libraries, a fading of commitment to extracurricular activities.
All this is deeply blamed by social media. But is it the social media that we are to blame here or is it the absurd addiction towards the social media we can’t seem to rid ourselves of?
With a bit more internal strength from each individual, can social media in moderation be one of the most helpful tools for the younger generations and generations to come? There are times when we cannot just simply shoot an idea down; there are times when we must accept the changes of society and embrace them for what they bring. We live among an advanced culture where, due to extensive research and plenty of trial and error by motivated innovators, most answers come at the click of a button. Even though your grandma might be confused, we have moved on from the 5,000-page dictionary and on to bigger and better, or should we say, smaller and faster things. Instead of gorging on these impressive contemporary tools, self-control over social media can ultimately evolve the way people think, express themselves to others, and act upon certain issues. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, along with other online resources, can get a lot of hate, but these networks can be extremely beneficial in life if used appropriately and fairly.
This past summer when Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), introduced the ALS ice-bucket challenge to help raise money in order to get closer in finding a cure for this horrible disease, he did so using social media. He wanted to connect to a large group of people and do it in a fun and interactive way. Videos of kids pouring buckets of cold water on their friends were posted at a rapid pace, but more importantly, donations were soaring. Since July 29th of this past summer, the ALS foundation has raised over $115 million dollars and most of this is due to the attention gathered on Facebook. Whether or not people donated or just posted a video for friends’ approval, the message was clear, and people responded.
Social media is fun, and it’s not going away. It is understandable that people have issues with it; we are obsessed and it is taking away from other activities like appreciating the good old outdoors or reading a book or even physically looking a friend in the face, however, what people haven’t mastered yet is a balance. As soon as this balance is met, all can start to recognize the “good” in social media.
“I know I probably check Insta and Twitter too often, but it’s nice to check Facebook and see pictures of my family every once and a while” Freshman Erin Callahan stated.
“Ya, there is a lot of stupidity floating around online, but I feel in-tune with the people around me. Every once and a while something comes up in the news and the first place I hear about it is on a social network. You just can’t trust everything you read on the internet” senior Chris Mason noted.
Freshman Mackenzie Blair was fortunate enough to meet her roommate’s parents via Facebook video chat. “It’s a great way to interact and communicate,” Mackenzie admitted. “My roommate is from Venezuela and it was pretty cool getting to say hi to her parents.”
Orientation leader Jess Stone had initial concerns regarding the incoming freshman class and their constant use of social media. “I thought [the freshman] wouldn’t be able to look at each other out of awkwardness. They are looking into their phones so often that I thought maybe they would forget how to interact in person, but they actually surprised me…It’s like they have this ‘I’ve seen it before mentality’ and they aren’t shy with each other.”
Too much of anything can be detrimental to the individual and in turn, to an overall community. Using social media as a tool, instead of checking it to pass the time, can be more helpful than we know it. Like Charles Darwin states “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” So instead of simply “checking” Facebook, “utilize” it, and save time for other things in life while holding on to the tools that can benefit us.