Social networking. It is a term synonymous with those of us who have grasped technology with both hands in the 21st Century. It’s something that has come into our lives without warning and taken over. Well, for most of us, anyway.

I, for one, love talking about the effects of social media and studying the different ways people view and use it. So I’ve decided to write a 7 part column series exploring the world of social media a bit more ‘in depth’ than I have in any other similar topic. I’m going to explore all the different social networks, the way we use them and the way they’ve integrated themselves into our daily lives. I’ll be going from well known sites like Facebook and Twitter, down to other ones like WhatsApp and Snapchat. But first, I’m going to write a little overview about Social Networking as a whole, and our addiction to it.

Getting social:

Think back ten years ago, when mobile phones were only just becoming affordable and popular. It seemed like the future had arrived at our doorsteps. The height of technology. We could send text messages, picture messages, have songs on there and even take photo’s on a built in camera. It was amazing, especially for my fourteen year old self. But now, those phones are prehistoric compared to the amazing things technology has provided us with since then. Now, with things like iPhone’s, the list of things we are able to do is longer than most novels, and social networking plays a massive role in it. For example, when I first became the proud owner of a shiny new iPhone 5, the first thing I did, as if it was a necessity or priority, was download Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I hadn’t even transferred my contacts over yet, but somehow it didn’t matter because I had everyone I’d ever met on these social networks I could access at the press of a button.

Sites like Facebook promise to connect you with friends and family, the people you love most, and it does exactly that. In just a few short seconds you can connect with someone you’ve newly met and learn a lot about them just by looking at their profiles. You can see their thoughts via their status updates, their adventures through their photo albums and the company they keep by their friends list. It all sounds very intimate and honestly, quite stalker-esque, but these days it’s become the norm. It’s how people connect with one another. As for Twitter, it allows you to reach out to absolutely anyone without the ‘do I know you?’ question being thrown left, right and centre. The bonus is that you get to follow and interact with your favourite singers, actors, writers, artists, sportsmen, etc. They keep us all together and once you’re in, it can be hard to get out.

My social addiction:

Okay, so maybe I went ‘too’ far on that title. It’s not ‘social networking’ I’m addicted to, but instead, my iPhone. But a part of that addiction is spent on social networks. From the moment you join Facebook for the first time, it can be overwhelming just how interconnected everyone seems to be, and how easy it is to become a part of it. I spend the majority of my day connecting with people on the site/app and it takes up a lot of my time, especially when I have a column to write or an episode of a web show to shoot. But in my defence, my iPhone helps me a lot with my day to day activities. For example, it has everything from my emails, my documents, my blog, my messages… EVERYTHING. But I’m not alone. So many of my friends and family spend loads of time on their phones. It seems to be the completely normal way of communicating with others in this day and age. I wish that I could put my phone down for hours at a time and not worry about what’s going on in the world, but I haven’t even attempted to since I know it would scare me. But why are we so addicted? Why do we spend so much time ‘social’ networking from our laptops and phones instead of actually interacting with real people instead of from behind a screen. Each week I’m going to be posting a new article exploring different social networking sites/apps and how they’ve integrated themselves into our lives. First, I’m going to be exploring one of the most popular sites in the world. You guessed it… Facebook. So keep your eye out for the 7 articles that will be coming up, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did researching and writing them.

Thanks for reading,

-Josh.


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