Social Media Changing Users' Social and Academic Lives - - No One Gets You Closer

Social Media Changing Users' Social and Academic Lives


ADA, OK--Day-in and day-out, we are surrounded by mobile uploads, status updates and online conversations. While there is no doubt social media is changing the world in many positive ways, experts say society is missing out on the original version of facetime.

"I don't understand 'OMG' 'LOL,'" says iPhone Siri when you say these texting acronymns to her.

Welcome to generation text, a world ruled by hashtags, retweets and 140 characters. But with the world in our hands, what are we letting slip through our fingers?

"I am addicted to Instagram and Twitter, and, honestly, I think it does more harm than it does good," said one Ada High School senior.

A panel of six high school students didn't hold back when it came to the love-hate relationship they have with social media.

"You're always looking at it, scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook," said one female student.

Each student admitted to sending more than 500 texts per week, relying on autocorrect and messaging in acronymns.

"'IDK', I don't know. 'SMH', shaking my head," the group listed off.

High school English professor Kelly Lowrance says online life is beginning to invade students' academic success.  

"I've seen a huge decline in language development in the last five years," said Lowrance. "I think they know that it's not acceptable. It's a habit, and they just get to writing real fast because that's that social technology. You're going to respond, and you're going to respond fast."

Students and faculty agree that social media is actually making some people less social.

One student said: "You'll have that one friend that's just scrolling, not paying attention to anything."

Lowrance said: "And the irony in it is that the world is not introverted overall, it's an extroverted world. But, yet, all of these people and all of these kids are being raised to be introverted."

Interestingly enough, professors say it's not only affecting today's youth, but it is also infiltrating adult lives, as well.

Sociology professor Dr. Rich Alford says, if given the choice, he would eliminate social media due to its side effects.

"It's hard to tell long-term what will happen, it's such a new phenomenon that we really don't know," said Alford. "I think a lot of people think we're less present-oriented. We're less in the moment."

And the panel didn't disagree.

One junior football player said, "Honestly it would probably be good for me to have my phone away, just so I could focus on things that are probably a little more important than social media and texting."

One panel member said: "I feel like the more social medias that come out, the more drama, cyber bullying, everything will be so complicated. I feel like this is only the beginning of how bad it's going to get."

Everyone we talked with said that, just like anything in life, there are pros and cons to social media. They all agreed, however, that too much of a good thing might not be so great.

Dr. Alford says social media is not only addicting, but that it also has serious side effects for some users. He says studies have even shown there is a direct link between depression and time spent on Facebook.