Commentary

Social Media and the Cell Phone

I, as many other college students do, am constantly checking what is happening in my friends’ lives on Facebook. I check in between classes, after classes, and before I go to bed at the least. Times are changing though, and now we are not even restricted to seeing what our friends are doing from our computers, we are now able to check Facebook and Twitter from our cell phones. I recently started using an iPhone and the temptation is great to download the application for Facebook and not only check to see the latest news with my friends after class but before, during and after.

I have decided that I must refrain from this temptation, or I will never get anything done. I learned recently though, that this technology is not just limited to Smartphone users. If you use a regular cell phone you can choose to have certain peoples’ status updates or tweets sent straight to your phone, you just have to choose who you want to hear from and change the settings.

In my opinion, this creates a sort of information overload by way of social media. As college students and consumers in general we are surrounded by media and technology every day, but we eventually see the need to take a break from all of it. We shut down our computers and turn off our televisions and try to work on something else, but we rarely turn off our cell phones in case someone wants to get in contact with us. This technology gives us the opportunity for people to tell us about their lives without even trying to call or text us.

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We have seen the time come when we now use cell phones as our main means of communication, but now, amongst the thousands of text messages we send and receive each month, it is now possible to check up on our friends social lives. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I see this use of cell phones and social media hindering our communication with others at times, and when the two are combined into one device (the cell phone), the problem seems to become much worse.

3 comments about "Social Media and the Cell Phone".
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  1. laura.r, January 28, 2011 at 12:14 a.m.

    I completely agree with everything you've just said. I too see a problem in how our connection with technology is hindering our ability to effectively communicate in person. The fact that we're able to be so connected by using a device that usually fits in our jeans pocket is definitely a concern. As technology improves, and as it reaches a younger audience, I'm curious to see what will happen with future generations ability to communicate.

  2. Ace Howard from Ball State University, January 28, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.

    This is a thought-provoking article. Just to clarify, are you saying that social media and cell phones hinder more intimate types of communication (in person) instead of communication in general? If so, I could see where you're coming from. Maybe people would consider interaction through social media as "good enough" for their fill of social interaction.

    However, based on my personal experiences, I'm willing to say that cell phones and social media have improved communication. My main means of communicating with others is through my phone and through the Facebook and email. If I was without a cell phone or the Internet, I would have no way of getting in touch with others. For me, this type of communication usually leads to face to face interaction. Having said all of this, I do think that these resources are a crutch for communication. It's not necessarily a bad thing; maybe we needed help walking all along.

  3. David Carlick from Carlick, January 31, 2011 at 12:50 p.m.

    From an elder: Technology can waste as much time as it saves. Your call.

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