Call me old-fashioned, but I wish tweeting were just reserved for the birds.
Can you blame me? As I thumb through my smartphone, my Twitter feed consists of meaningless conversations between friends, depressing song lyrics, and iPhone emojis that don’t register with my Android.
I’m not one to tweet, Facebook or Foursquare, so I can tell my online “friends” that I just ate a quesadilla at Taco Bell. I prefer to live my life in more privacy. I may be old school, but I don’t want the world knowing what I had for breakfast or when I’m having a bad day.
Social media has stolen our generation’s communication skills. Fifty years ago, the only communication between people could really engage in was letter writing and phone calls. It was a simpler time — and one that I wish still existed. I have so many old letters saved in my room that I like to re-read to reflect on past experiences. If you asked me how many emails or Facebook chat conversations I have printed out, I would tell you the answer is none. Letters are just so much more personal.
Now, if our significant other doesn’t like our Facebook status within seconds of posting it, we assume that they fell off the face of the earth. We stay glued to our smart phones, barely looking up to cross the street and stay wrapped in the Wi-Fi of our apartment buildings as we ride the elevators to class, oblivious to the beer cans stacked in the elevators.
Eighty-three percent of 18 to 29-year-old Internet users use social media sites, according to the Pew Research Center. Our generation uses social media the most compared to older generations, according to the Pew study.
There’s no doubt that social media is taking over the way we live our lives, from checking weather and traffic reports to helping police solve crimes. The high-profile Steubenville, Ohio rape trial brought a lot of attention to the effect of social media.
In the devastating trial that ended Sunday, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, were found guilty and sentenced to prison for raping a 16-year-old girl. The case was built with evidence posted on social media from video and pictures of sexual acts to lewd text messages.
So, the same social networks sites being used to watch Taylor Swift music videos and a giant panda sneezing is being used by criminals as a gateway to celebrate and share sick crimes?
This shouldn’t be tolerated.
We shouldn’t use these social media mediums for malice, and we shouldn’t sit back and stay silent when we read something suspicious.
For many, sending a tweet constitutes a verbal or physical action.
Caution should also be exercised with each tweet, Facebook post and Snapchat we send and receive. The Internet isn’t a shield. Rather, it’s a tool that can broadcast messages worldwide in seconds. Every send button we click leaves our footprint for future employees to trace, whether our security settings are private or not.
I spent my spring break in China and with shoddy to non-existent Wi-Fi. I was worried that I would miss scrolling through various social media websites, but I actually found myself enjoying being disconnected. Rather than checking in on Foursquare at the Great Wall, instagramming pictures of dumplings or tweeting phrases I learned in Chinese, I was able to live in the moment.
Instead of thumbing through my smart phone with my head down, I saw, smelled and savored the scenes around me. I hope that in the future, more emphasis can be spend on the fundamentals of communication verbally speaking to others — whether it’s chatting with the barista at Starbucks or wishing your teacher a good morning as he or she enters the classroom before class instead of checking email.
Twenty years from now, you’re not going to remember the picture of the snow you instagrammed, and you’re not going to remember the day you became mayor of the Corner Room on Foursquare.
What you will remember is the people you meet walking to class, the long conversations you have with friends or throwing a football around with friends on a sunny day.
Christina Gallagher is a junior majoring in journalism and is The Daily Collegian’s Wednesday columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.