I disagree with Portwood-Stacer when she says in How We Talk About Media Refusal, being online is an addiction. I don’t think it’s so much of an addiction as it is an important part of the daily norm in today’s society. Being online is a huge part of today’s culture and it’s used for just about everything (socializing, working, etc.) Through my internships with the Mets and News 12NJ I learned that online is the future, and social media is going to play a huge role.
I thought I was addicted to social media, but then I went abroad to Barcelona last spring and I lived mostly off electronics for four months. I had a phone but only to contact my roommates and friends in Barcelona. I used technology and social media to contact my friends and family back home on the days I wasn’t traveling. Wifi wasn’t everywhere, so when I did have it I saw it as a luxury. I realized then that it’s not an addiction; you can live off of it like I mostly did. On days out to dinner, I never even thought about connecting to wifi to check Twitter or Facebook because I wanted to spend my semester abroad with the people I met abroad. I guess from my experience I cherish being online and social media. I see it as a huge gateway with loads of potential. Because I lived without it for so long that is why I personally don’t see it as an addiction. However, because it is everywhere and a dominant part of our culture it is perceived to be an addiction.
I feel like in society today, everyone is under a microscope and every action is magnified and judged by others. These “media refusers” shape our understanding and belief of what being online really is into a more negative light. Companies like Facebook help users so much than just writing on someone’s wall or liking a post, they bring people closer together. Facebook released FacebookStories, a website celebrating 10 years of being online and showing the top 10 best stories to happen because of Facebook. These stories make you realize that it’s not some petty thing that people get “addicted” to, they have a greater purpose than that for most users.
While being online is great for communicating, it negatively affects face-to-face communication skills. From non-verbal gestures to having the ability to talk confidently, being behind a screen has definitely hindered my skills at one point several years ago. I don’t think it is a major problem to be worried about however. Having no online literacy and communication skills is just as worse as having no face-to-face communication skills.