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It started with the Bebo, moved on to Myspace and now our lives are being taken over by Facebook and Twitter. It’s not only social networking sites that consume our attention and the intimate details of our everyday lives; but the rising increase of using personal blogs such as tumblr and blogspot also seem to be included in this new phenomenon of having ‘our lives on the internet’. The population has been adjusted to not only using these sites for social networking and contacting friends, but also to using them as some sort of intimate way of displaying their emotions. Publicly. Whether these are displayed implicitly or explicitly, should we be worried that the internet is taking up a large majority of our lives? Or is simply the fact that it is for dull and boring people that have no lives?
The increase in users of Facebook has increased dramatically each year from its launch. Figures from 2008-2009 show a double in increase of the daily minutes used on it, as well as users who ‘update statuses daily’ rising from 4 million to 15 million. The site is based around the idea of building up an online version of the relationships we have in real life – talking to friends, going through photos, joining clubs – but in digital form. Logging onto Facebook does not only consist of checking your notifications, but of sprawling through the most recent status update and recently added pictures. According to the source ComScore, a typical Facebook user is on the site for an average of 169 minutes a month. Is this site something we should really put our time and effort into, and if the statistics keep increasing as they have been doing – how will Facebook affect our lives in 10 years time?
Twitter seems to be a more recent trend that has invited people to indulge in the everyday lives of celebrities through ‘following’ them, with the ability to read status updates about their life throughout the day. It is said to now be the fastest growing social network where people can keep up to date with what you are doing and when you are doing it. This sort of exposure seems to be increasing in detail – with the flow of people’s everyday lives being paraded over the internet for everyone to see. The advancement of this site is revolved around the idea of feeling ‘closer’ to celebrities by knowing their activities on a daily basis, and sometimes even having celebrities following your own twitter page. Celebrities use twitter to post pictures, advertise media interviews and talk to their fans. It might be also interesting to mention how even marketing companies will use social networking sites such as Facebook and twitter, promoting their company as a way of interacting with the population of this generation.
The most intimate and direct way of displaying emotion is also achieved through ‘blogging’ – an internet based form of a diary. The contrasting factor however is the idea that this is available for anyone to read. Blogs are written as a way of expressing themselves and their knowledge or expertise; they can be read for information or, more likely because they find the writer or person interesting. Many people will turn to blogs as a way of voicing problems or issues that they cannot seem to deal with in face to face communication. The use of anonymity can be used strategically in order to share information without being known.
It seems to be the reliance on these sites, and the need people have to use them which makes us wonder – do our lives really depend on these internet crazes? And what would our lives be like without them? It doesn’t come down to the fact that these sites are for dull and boring people that have no lives, it is more about the addiction to displaying aspects of our lives on this for other people to see, and the perhaps dependence we have on using them as some sort of security – to escape from the reality of a world without internet.