Social media -- a euphemism for gossip sites -- is a term for websites and applications that allow users to share information and communicate with other users in a "social" setting. Some school districts -- most notably New York City's -- have limited contact by public school teachers with students on Facebook and Twitter, except on pages set up for classroom use.
Characteristics of Users
Unfortunately, many users become addicted to such sites. 2010 statistics for Facebook show users spend more than 928 million hours per month playing online games. This addictive behavior results in:
- lower academic and job-related achievement by those who spend time there[Citation Needed]
- interference with the development of good, lasting relationships
- displacement of healthy social gatherings
- increased likelihood of divorce
- higher exposure to cyberbullying and other online threats.
Social media experts and psychologists have noted that many users find the need to constantly update their status, check on the status of others or play games suffer from what is known as "Facebook Addiction Disorder." The "disorder" was shown to be prevalent in young people, as a study showed that college students who were asked to abstain from using Facebook for 24 hours experienced helplessness, loneliness, and anxiety.
Criticism of Social Media
Despite several social media websites boasting large numbers of users, active user percentages have slowed or declined in recent times. For example, Facebook reported only a 1.7% month to month increase in active users. Social media critics have noted that these sites often promote "hive-mind" behavior, where many users band together behind one ideology, usually liberalism. In June 2011, users of the website Reddit crashed White House phone lines during a campaign calling for the legalisation of drugs.
Benefits of Social Media
Republicans and conservatives have been able to utilize the social media site Twitter more than their Democratic counterparts. Success of Tea Party rallies are a result of organizers utilizing social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to engage volunteers and spread the word.
Employers have also used social media sites to vet potential employees, particularly to see if potential hires have engaged in sexist or racist commentary or displayed photos of illegal activities.
Popular Social Media Sites
- Facebook Gamers Play 927 Million Hours of Games Per Month [Infographic, Social Times, October 18, 2010]
- AAML press release
- 'A million children being bullied on Facebook', Mail&Guardian Online, May 10, 2011
- Spending hours updating your status? You may be a Facebook addict The Daily Star, July 9, 2011
- Facebook’s Growth Rate is Dropping, says Report Buzzom.com, June 13, 2011
- INTERNET ACTIVISTS CRASH WHITE HOUSE PHONE LINES CALLING FOR AN END TO THE WAR ON DRUGS CA Independent Voter Network, June 18, 2011
- Organizers Give Recipes for Effective Tea Parties Fox News, April 11, 2009
- Cleaned up your Facebook profile yet? Your next job may depend on it. IT World, June 21, 2011
- Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are two examples of this.