It’s a difficult question to answer right now: are users of sites like Facebook and Twitter becoming addicted to the services?
It sounds kind of crazy, but if you really stop and think about it, it does seem to have some argumentative merit. A study by the University of Edinburgh recently found that Facebook causes more stress proportionate to the amount of friends a person has, but their addiction to it will keep them from quitting it or deleting their accounts. If you think that sounds crazy, another study found that some college-aged students may be craving social media sites more than sex. I couldn’t believe it when I read these things!
But is it really so hard to swallow? It’s pretty hard for me to go a day without checking my Facebook page at least once. Heck, I would even wager it’s hard for me to go a couple of hours without doing so. And after going to college for the past 4 years, I definitely noticed how people couldn’t seem to even walk to their next class without fiddling with their iPhones or Droids. There really is a sense that people really can’t live without social media in this day and age.
Calling it an addiction, however, seems to be a bit negative. I don’t think that we’d be seeing anyone suffering real withdrawals if one day all the electronics of the world shut down and they couldn’t access their Twitter page. It might be more akin to a sort of evolution in the way we communicate in the 21st century. The days of snail-mail and phone calls aren’t dead, but they’ve definitely been cut down to size with the onset of social media services.
We live in the information age. People can communicate now more than ever before, and speaking out to a crowd is a few keystrokes away at any time, minus the fear of public speaking. It’s so easy and desirable now that it’s being called addictive. But is it an addiction? Or is it just so efficient that it’s a step beyond communication as we know it, making us reach for our phones or keyboards whenever we have a thought to share? Times might just be changing, or social media may be becoming too much of a good thing.
I guess it all depends on how you look at it.