Thursday, December 15, 2011


 My various freelance jobs don't allow me to take technological hiatuses very often, but what happens when the information floating around the Internet that is constantly in your face, starts to become more than you can handle?

Most people can agree that not everything they read on Facebook or Twitter is exactly "uplifting."  Frankly, those status updates that many people covet, have a tendency to make other people feel bad about themselves.  What seems like an endless string of news reports have popped up recently advocating for stricter guidelines for social media content.  They identify an increase in low self-esteem among users and incidents of physical violence as the results of this new generation of social media addicts. 

It is no secret that the events on social media sites have contributed to suicide. Most of us can still remember the highly publicized Myspace case in 2008.  Thirteen year-old, Megan Meier, committed suicide after being harassed by a neighbor who signed up for the site posing as a teenage boy. Events as severe as this might be few and far between, but local news crews are constantly covering "breaking stories" that deal with the misuse of sites like these - no different than the effect that chat rooms had during the 1990s when headlines screamed "middle age man lured teenage girl into compromising position." 

Is the Internet becoming an unhealthy use of time in more ways than the physical sense?  I would argue yes.  Social media is addictive, and with easy access almost everywhere you look -smart phones, laptops, iPods, iPads, Internet stations - it's a hard addiction to break. 

Sitting at home on a Friday night may be the responsible choice if you have work to finish, but seeing what seems like everyone else on your friend list updating the Twitterverse on their club-o-choice for the evening doesn't help your reserve.  When you're feeling a little oompa-loompa like, checking out your friends photo albums and glaring at their sex-on-a-stick looks, isn't going to help your cause.  And, when you're dealing with a love-sick-puppy situation, seeing the hearts and love notes all over his wall, isn't going to do anything but bring the water works.

I am a huge advocate of the use of social media for marketing and getting information out there in the most convenient and easy to navigate way, and there are definite perks to be said for the social aspect. But as a user and abuser, I myself have had to establish limits.  Facebook stalking, bad idea.  Constant Twitter updates, get a life.  Mobile uploads that chronicle your day one picture at a time, no thanks!

Stand up, take a breath, stretch, and walk away.  Come again another day!