The author discusses her struggles with time suck — being drawn into social networking at the expense of getting her assignments done efficiently:
“When I sit down to write an essay, it can take me almost an hour to start my work. “Just one quick look at Facebook,” I think to myself. I then end up on the website for an extended period of time.”
She also gets even more serious when she discusses the need to maintain popularity, but in a way that is essentially false camaraderie:
“These websites are addicting because they give a false sense of community. Users are tricked into believing that they are part of a close group…People become addicted to the high they get when someone acknowledges them on these websites.”
Even as an, ahem, “older” adult, I can fall into this trap. I sometimes wonder why a particular post of mine goes unnoticed, when I find it highly amusing and/or inspiring; it disappoints me for that moment (I think that’s the strongest word I can honestly write about my reaction, though sometimes my reaction can increase to “bummed”). Conversely, I can feel giddy when I see lots of people responding to something that I posted, especially when I didn’t expect anyone to really notice (So why even do it? That’s a question for another time).
While this story is not meant to infer that all young people suffer from these issues, I think it’s important to be reminded that there are young people who are struggling with, not always embracing, social networking. And since socializing online is an integral part of the ways in which communities are formed and maintained, it’s important to understand where and when frustration and disconnect exist for youth — those whom older folk often assume celebrate such connections the most.