Column: Social networks distract from everyday lives

The Newtonite

by Isabel Joyce
Your phone buzzes. The Facebook icon pops up in the center of the glossy iphone screen. You click the button, and suddenly you see how many “likes” your new, meticulously edited, profile picture has received.
You frown because Sally still has not liked your new profile picture, but why? Is she mad at you for something? Maybe she just has not checked her phone yet. But what if she has?
Sound familiar? Most teenagers find themselves staring at their phones in hallways, classrooms, sidewalks, and even at the dinner table, anxious to read about their “friend’s” new status update.
Social networking sites have become another way to express ourselves or the personality we would like the world to see. They serve to promote the hobbies or interests we have in our real-lives and as communication devices between friends, family, and even strangers. Users post pictures on their profiles, eagerly anticipating the likes and comments friends will post.
This would not be so much of an issue, if, that is, the virtual life did not collide with real-life. People have come to associate the likes and comments on social networking sites to coincide with real-life relationships. In fact, the online life has become another identity; the more likes you get, the more popular you are on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Not only do social networking sites control how popular we feel, the likes and comments either make ourselves feel good, or make ourselves feel awful; it can affect the rest of your day. One little like can change your mood. Scary.
Not only does the power of the like or a comment have the ability to change someone’s mood, some comments are actually constructed in a way to insult another friend, something the user would never have said to that person’s face, allowing the virtual person to  say, and act, in ways he or she would never do in real-life.
With that in mind, spending your day worried about how many likes you got on a picture, or passing your time wondering what caption, location, and filter to use on your latest picture, wastes time. Especially if the outcome evokes either elated or disheartened emotions. There are so many other things we could be focusing on.
Yes, some social networking sites like Facebook are required for contacting and scheduling team activities or meeting up with friends, and sometimes it can provide an easy distraction from a chaotic day. But we must keep in mind that even though social networking sites are fun to use, we must separate the virtual world from our own lives. Maybe we do this by deleting our Instagram account all together, or maybe we do this by changing the time we check our phones to the end of the day, instead of the morning, allowing our minds to not fixate on one picture or post.
Regardless of what, or if, you decide to change your routine, social networking sites should remain websites, and not affect our daily lives to the extent they do now.