Thursday, 7 March 2013

The perils of social networks

The other day I nearly got run over by a bus.  I was crossing the road and it went straight through the red light.  It was very traumatic.  And what was the first thing I did?  I tweeted about it.  Today, we live in a society where someone would tweet about their house being on fire before they would ring the fire brigade.  The rise of Twitter and Facebook in the last few years has changed the way we communicate with one another; changed the way we go about our daily lives.

Instagram seems to have developed into a mini modelling site for wannabe Britain's Next Top Models, whilst Twitter is a breeding ground for young girls obsessed with Justin Bieber and One Direction - verbally attacking anyone who dare say a bad word against them.  Girls as young as 8 now use Twitter as a way of keeping up with Bieber and the like.  When I was 8 my technological exposure was Pokemon on the Gameboy, Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the PlayStation, and my ever-faithful karaoke machine (sorry, again, mum and dad for my murderous versions of Eternal Flame that I used to blast out!)

It's terrifying what some of these young girls write on Twitter - sending death threats, promising their virginity to a boyband member just for a retweet...  The dangerous, obsessive cult of young girls who exist on Twitter (the Beliebers, the Directioners, Lovatics etcetcetc) are all tweeting, the majority of the time, from their own laptops/computers, iPads, or smart phones - they're more technologically advanced than I am!  Not only is it dangerous, young girls being exposed to the internet, their comments are able to be read by anyone.  People tweet in the heat of the moment and do not realise the repercussions that can come from it.  The student who was racially abusive towards Fabrice Muamba is a prime example - he was arrested and charged by the police for his comments. 

Modern day society is completely wrapped up in social networking.  I found out some of the biggest events of recent times via Twitter: Bin Laden being captured and killed; Whitney Houston dying; Rylan winning Celebrity Big Brother... Without it, I probably wouldn't have a clue what was going on in the world.  But how did this dependence come about?  How did it come to the constant refreshing of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for hours on end?  Seeing nothing new or interesting but continuing to refresh anyway.

Here are a couple examples of conversations between my best friend and myself from last year, highlighting the importance of social networks in our day-to-day lives:

Me: I wonder if they are ok, they seemed a bit odd last night
Soph: He'll be fine, I'm sure, have you heard from them since?
Me: Nope, and he hasn't tweeted in over 13 hours now. Something is not right.
Soph: Oh, that is unusual.
******
Soph: Do you want to check us in at Meadowhall or shall I do it?
******
Me: Woah, people are going to think I'm dead - I haven't tweeted in over 36 hours!

[I'm quite sure nobody did think I was dead.]

I wonder what would happen if Facebook and Twitter did just, out of the blue, close down one day?  Or if everyone emigrated to another, brighter social network? [RIP MySpace and Bebo]  Would the world end?  Possibly.  But without Twitter, nobody would ever find out about it...