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The Evil Side of the Social Network

Facebook. Twitter. Google Plus. Texting. The way our generation stays connected is through a cold piece of plastic. Technology is a security blanket. If we are presented with an awkward situation, such as using the elevator, we pull out our phones and pretend to check them, even if we know we have no new text messages.  

?For lent I decided to give up Twitter, my favorite social networking site. Was it difficult in the beginning? Yes.  Sometimes I would sign in to Twitter by accident as a reflex when I pulled up my web browser.  While it was difficult to quit this technology cold-turkey, I did it.  I created a tweet jar in order to relieve my tweeting anxiety. Now that I have quit Twitter, I don’t know if I will return.  Has it made me a happier person? Yes.  I no longer feel jealous or upset when I see someone tweet about something fun they are doing.  I am no longer stalking my crush on Twitter looking to see what they are doing with their life.?  
    
Through this process I started to think about the ugly side of the social network.  Facebook was created to connect friends and to stay in touch with people, but ironically it makes me feel more isolated from people.  Now our lives are defined by how many likes we get on a profile picture, or a status.  If a friend doesn’t “like” a comment you made, you feel like that was the wrong thing to say.  Friendships are defined by how many pictures you have on Facebook together, not actually spending time together.  Relationships aren’t official unless they are “Facebook official.”  Feelings of jealousy and depression come across you as you see of your two friends at a party and you ask yourself “why wasn’t I invited?”  Shouldn’t we be concerned with living our lives rather than living through Facebook?? Now I know what you are thinking, if Facebook makes me feel depressed, then why don’t I just delete mine?  Most of my clubs are on Facebook, so if I do quit it, then I will lose contact with them.  So it seems as though I am chained to this social network.

What is the cure for this drug of social networking?  Go outside and step away from your computer.  Actually call someone and have a conversation on the phone rather than texting.  I also suggested not being automatically logged into Facebook or Twitter.  Then before you type in your username and password and hit ‘log in’ think to yourself, do I really need to be going on Facebook or Twitter? 

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