Samantha Friedman, friedms3@muohio.edu

It’s a well-known fact that people are more connected than ever. We document every place we go and what we do on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Some of us even create videos to post on YouTube. Most of the things we share are pretty irrelevant, but still millions of us would feel lost without this technology. 

Is social media making us less personal or making us more powerful and independent? Social media did help fuel the recent revolution in Cairo, Egypt by allowing citizens to communicate on a global level with others for support. Social media has also given everyone a voice, many of whom didn’t have one before. Everyone is becoming a “citizen journalist,” a bit of a scary thought for those studying to become writers and reporters.

Soraya Mehdizadeh, an undergraduate psychology student at York University, examined 100 Facebook users at her school between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Her study found that individuals who regularly use Facebook rate higher in narcissism and lower in self-esteem. These students also filled their profiles with more self-promotional content.

This study shows just how much people are seeking approval from their peers and feel somewhat pressured to be constantly updating their profiles to keep up with new technological trends.

Students need to keep in mind that once something is placed on their Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and blogs, it is there for the whole world to access. Students currently seeking internships and jobs need to seriously consider what they post and the pictures in which they are tagged. Even if you choose to deactivate your Facebook account while you are involved in the interviewing process, the page is still accessible. It doesn’t completely get deleted and can be brought back at any time.

Where does the pressure come from for people to feel they need to post pictures, statuses and tweets throughout the day? Pressure might come from friends. With the majority of students utilizing social media, no one wants to be the one who is left out, the one person in a group of friends who isn’t on Facebook or Twitter. No one wants to feel out of the loop.

Social media certainly has its benefits and advantages. It is connecting people together like never before regardless of location. Connectivity is boundless with the Internet and smartphones, but with so much capability, it begs the question of whether this overload of connectivity helps or hurts us. We can only estimate its real effects.

Many would say there are more benefits than costs, and some would say there are too many negative consequences. Whatever your belief, balance is certainly needed to avoid getting carried away.

Give yourself some face time with friends and time off of the computer. It will probably do you some good.

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