Does that shock you? Does reading that make you think to yourself, “Wow, that girl is so pathetic. She must not have a life!” or “That can’t be healthy. Does she ever go outside?” If so, then you can kindly go fuck yourself with a chainsaw. Seriously.
I may be a misanthropist, but God, do I love social media. Few things delight me more than scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and laughing at moronic statuses or sighing and rolling my eyes at girls in tube tops holding red solo cups at frat parties. Twitter is my main source of celebrity gossip and news. Instagram is where I get my vegan recipes and D.I.Y. craft ideas. I have eight different Tumblr blogs. Pinterest, Flickr, Youtube, Snapchat, even Polyvore, for God’s sake – I love it all.
Those who label social media and technology as the enemy seem to consider themselves on some righteous level far above us “petty Internet addicts.” I’m talking about the people who urge me to leave my iPhone in my room for a day or to spend some time away from my computer. They preach things such as “Try reading a book – an actual book, not one on a Kindle” or “Go take a walk outside and just enjoy nature for once in your life.”
Generation X, along with a few pretentious millennials, seem to find it somewhat depressing that people feel the need to post constantly to social media. They claim we have shorter attention spans and spend too much time multitasking. They criticize us for being narcissistic because we post tweets and status updates and photos. Other times, they turn up their noses and sniff snarky comments along the lines of “Are you really so pathetic that you need your existence to be validated through comments and likes from people you may not even know that well?”
No, we’re not pathetic. If anything, we are brave. With each post we make, we are taking a risk: we are presenting to a vast community a part of ourselves - we are sharing a part of our lives. We are shaping our identities. With social media, we have the freedom to show ourselves off to the world. Online projections of ourselves allow for us to build up personas. We can choose to put on display the things of which we are most proud; we can display the aspects of our lives we find most important. So maybe you're part of the Doctor Who fandom and run an entire Tumblr dedicated to the show. Where's the fault in allowing yourself to engage in a culture surrounding something you love? If you love Doctor Who so much you hit the Tumblr daily post limit solely by reblogging gifs of David Tennant, there is absolutely no shame in that. If you want to show yourself to the world as Ten's biggest fan, you should be able to do so proudly.
It is often argued that communication via social media has inhibited our abilities to communicate face-to-face. This is a common misconception. If anything, social media gives us great conversation starters when we actually do have to hold a conversation with someone. “So, did you see that ridiculous Vine video Josh Peck just posted…?”
No one ever complained that writing letters and sending them via snail mail ruined face-to-face conversation. When the telegraph was invented, no one thought of it as a horrible detriment to communication. No one took a look at Bell's telephone and exclaimed, "This abominable technology will ruin our ability to interact with each other in person!" What makes digital communication any different? My typing messages into a tiny Facebook chat box hasn't affected my impeccable grammar in any way, nor has it hindered the development of my vocabulary. My use of "lol" doesn't make me any less of a person. Smh. Srsly.
So what if some of us use the term “OTP” in casual conversation? So what if some of us think in 140 characters or fewer? So what if we take selfies in public? So what if the only tan I’ll ever get is from the glow of my computer screen? I was born and raised in the Internet Era. I am moving forward with the digital world. Doing so doesn’t mean I’m living my life any less than the generations before me or any less than the people who aren’t constantly on their phones. We "addicts" are still living in the moment. We're just doing it a little differently.
Meg Chu is a freshman WLP major from New York. She was born on the day the Metropolitan Museum of Art closed its Origins of Impressionism exhibit, and she enjoys wearing a variation of black and dark grey. In her spare time, she likes running, reading, eating tofu, and complaining about things on the Internet.
Images: kellypurkley.com, turbo.designwoop.com