Article on Social Media

11 01 2012

Check This Out

 I came across an article from the University of Maryland (thanks, Google) about social media addiction. They had a group of college students go a day without any media exposure. This article makes a profound statement that I actually agree with:

American college students today are addicted to media, describing their feelings when they have to abstain from using media in literally the same terms associated with drug and alcohol addictions: In withdrawal, Frantically craving, Very anxious, Extremely antsy, Miserable, Jittery, Crazy.

Now, this isn’t me. Yes, I do like social media and keeping connected with everyone – but I know how to let go. I can take a week off from everything and hit the mountains and forget about all of it.  When I come home, I check all my e-mails, make phone calls, check Twitter and Facebook. But hey, I don’t experience withdrawals and start turning into Crazy McGee.

But I know some people do.

The U of Maryland actually made that conclusion based on research they conducted. We all know many college kids are addicted to social media, but these guys actually went sciency on it. And that’s why I found this article interesting and of academic standard. However, keep reading and you’ll see what I found wrong with this article.

Levinson and This Study

The first chapter of  Levinson’s book New New Media talks about the different types of social media in society and its purpose – networking and socializing. As Levinson clearly defined social media and its inner workings, I developed a complaint with the U of Maryland’s study:

Their study made a conclusion about social media, but their study restricted students from all media.

My PR class taught me that there is traditional media (newspapers, magazines, broadcast TV) and new media (social media, social networking). I don’t watch TV to socially connect with my friends, I do it for entertainment. I go on Facebook to socially connect, though. To conduct a test that restricts usage of ALL media doesn’t seem accurate to me.

If the U of Maryland wanted to see how students handle a day without social media, then the study should have restricted only social media – only venues that allow social interaction. I think in today’s society, traditional and new media have become two very different things, and they should be viewed and tested separately.

Try This Out

I want you to try something out. I want you to try and do what the U of Maryland had their subjects do.

      Take a day off.

Yep, for 24 hours, go without any media that socially connects you with other people. Now, obviously if you need to call mom, then call mom. She cares about you. But go without e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Skype, texting, etc.

You can still read the newspaper and watch TV, but no social media. Nothing that social connects you with other people.

Afterwards, think about how you felt. Was it hard? Easy? Where there times you were frustrated you couldn’t contact someone? Did you feel like you were missing out? Just take some time to think about it.

Let’s go be cavemen for a day 🙂




4 responses

12 01 2012

Interesting article that you found. I agree with your complaint that the study limited access to all media. First of all, I’d like to know specifically what they considered to be media. Second of all, obviously students are going to feel uneasy if, in the course of a regular school day, they are cut off from information that everyone else has access to.

12 01 2012

From the article, it seemed that they lost ALL media exposure, not just social media. I guess I would have liked to see them make a difference between social interaction and complete media seclusion. b/c for me, I can go a day, a WEEK without TV, news, etc. no problem. But take my phone away, and I’ll start goin nuts before the day is done.

17 01 2012

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17 01 2012

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