Log Out, Shut Down And Open Your Eyes

Are we really growing up in a world evolving around technology and more importantly, social media?! I believe we are. But should it revolve around technology and social media?

Many people these days love the internet. I know I am one of those people. The first thing I do when I wake up is check the likes of Twitter, Instagram, my emails and sometimes Facebook before I look out the window. A significant event happens in my life and I immediately want to grab my phone and capture it. Have you ever thought to just take in the moment for what it is? By that I mean using your own eyes instead of looking through a viewfinder whether that be on your phone, tablet or camera. As a society, we have taught ourselves this behaviour from following what everyone else does. A friend of mine showed me a video from The IT Crowd which I thought was quite interesting and explains exactly how one mention can attract you to following the trend.

Just think of the trending topics on Twitter and Facebook. Thousands of people keep updated through the trending topics across social media platforms. What about how the social networks grew the active followers base? This was done by word of mouth between friends, family and colleagues. So what would life really be like without the internet. We could have an actual conversation with people around us. You never know, we may even be able to relax without being disturbed by tweets and other notifications. The other week I found myself getting distracted by the internet, maybe this was due to a five month break from University but I switched my phone to night mode and it was the best thing I have ever done! I could finally switch off from everything but more importantly I have control on when to talk on social media.

“The first tweet was sent on March 21, 2006 by Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter. It took over three years, until the end of May 2009, to reach the billionth tweet. Today, it takes less than two days for one billion tweets to be sent.” – Internet Live Stats

One of the topics I explored at university is UGC (User-Generated Content) and whether Journalism is dead. I came to the conclusion that it isn’t dead at all but Journalists must adapt to the world around them. They are using social media to their advantage, to assist in gathering and writing their stories but what would it be like if no one captured a significant event and it was up to the Journalist to find the story themselves. Essentially, it would be giving them their old job back and not having to rely on social media. It’s never going to be dead because people are always going to have the need for news.

Does that mean that a Journalist is just going to have to sit behind a computer browsing the social networking sites to gather news stories? No, it doesn’t mean that but how many times is a Journalist in the right place at the right time with a camera crew to capture breaking news. Then think how many times is there a random person with a smartphone present in order to capture what’s happening and publish it to social media. For example, information about the Boston bombings were speculated across social media platforms via smartphones before Journalists could get down there providing an opportunity for society to be aware of what was going on. There’s no competition between the journalist and social media, it’s just part of their job just like interviewing sources and communicating with PR’s is essential to their career too.

What I am trying to say is that the internet is an overwhelming place and I think it’s important that we all have a break from time to time. Of course, I love the internet. I think everyone does for different reasons but I don’t want to feel so wrapped up in it any more. Yes, I may have missed out on capturing some moments in my life but I will still remember them. They just won’t be shared on the internet with the rest of the world. Your emails and notifications will always be there for you at the end of the day but a possible life changing conversation with someone may not be. I don’t know about anyone else but I miss the days where my life didn’t revolve around phones, laptops and social media.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s important to have a break from the internet now and again? Let me know what you think.

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