Opinion: Is Social Media Really Taking Over?

Over half of NZs' population have an active Facebook account. Photo: Supplied

It’s a standard assumption that at least once in our lives, we have heard an older individual whine on about how “technology is bad” and how it was much better “back in their day”. Essentially, this is implying that sending letters and waiting weeks for a reply back was better than the instant communication online we have now… Somehow I don’t think it adds up.

Metathesiophobia is the fear of change. Those who suffer from this tend to live in the past and are unwilling to accept any changes to their usual routines. Sounds rather serious, but rings a lot of bells when I think of those in the generation before mine. As a child, my parents were very accepting of new technology and embraced it: whether it was them making Facebook and Instagram accounts, or buying new computers through the years.

I suppose I got lucky, but I am fully aware of other older people who refuse to make any changes regarding technology, even if it makes things more convenient for them. It’s an age-old debate, and will continue from generation to generation, but WHY? It’s obviously all down to personal choice – if it isn’t needed, then it isn’t necessary. But I think that continuously bashing social media’s intended purposes and trying to pass opinions like this onto others is entirely unnecessary.

Social media: A blessing or a curse? Source: Marketing Land

As a “young one”, I personally enjoy sharing aspects of my life on social media. I like taking pretty photos and posting them on Instagram for my friends and family to wow over, and I enjoy posting stupid jokes on my Facebook. I use Skype to contact my loved ones who are thousands of kilometers away and YouTube to keep up to date on Internet news and drama. Obviously, this is my personal preference – everybody uses the internet for different purposes.

If I think about it, I’ve never met a person in my almost-19 years of living who has a “social media addiction”. Learning how to balance real life and your online presence is an easy habit to pick up. For example, putting your phone down for the night when you’re out for dinner, or not checking it at all whilst working to avoid distraction. Other aspects that should really be taken into consideration is that the content you’re posting is semi-appropriate for your audience, and that learning how to use your privacy settings is essential.

Essentially, I feel that fear of the unknown plays a rather large role in older generations’ refusal to accept how we communicate and share our lives now. Somewhere along the line, somebody decided that putting your information on the World Wide Web was dangerous, rather than beneficial. If you learn internet etiquette and learn how to not be online 24/7, the positives majorly outweigh the negatives.

Claudia Cranch
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