Status update: Omg got the new iPad2! Love it! Angry birds on the big screen is awesome!
Tweet: iPad’s are over rated. Just got the new Galaxy Tab and watching Hulu!
Text message: Wow, did you see those updates on Twitter and Facebook about the new electronics? So annoying. We all know that typewriters out-do all of that stuff anyways.
Facebook, Twitter, Email, and text messaging are just a few examples of the social media that is taking over in our society.
By now I’m sure everyone has realized that group texting is the new conference call. Communicating through text message is one of the most common ways people talk to each other. For example, at the high school, coaches will get all of their athletes’ cell phone numbers to text them details about upcoming events. In cheerleading, our coach and captains all send out mass text messages to everyone on the squad to tell us what to wear to the game or what time practice is.
It is tremendously helpful to have this quick access at the tip of your fingertips because if for some reason there is a sudden change in plans it is very easy to inform others of current events. Texting has become second
nature to many people; it is very rare that you meet someone that does not have the ability to text. Most adults and business owners have converted to texting rather than emailing their employees because it is much quicker because most people usually have their phone on them at all times, rather than having to wait for a computer to check email. Texting is much more convenient because if someone is busy you don’t have to call, interrupt them, and leave a voicemail. You can just shoot them a text and they will see it and reply when they have time.
As a teenager, the most common question I get it “Do you or could you ever put it down?” The answer is yes, we could live without it. We just choose not to because we don’t want to miss anything. Sometimes, if you are in a room with 10 people, at least one person will be texting someone that it is the same room as them because they do not want others to know about their conversation and it’s more subtle than calling them out.
It could almost be considered an addiction.
Most modern cell phones use specialized texting such as a keyboard or touch screen keys and they are all smart phones so it is easier to access the web so computers are almost considered old technology. Personally, just as many other teens, love my phone and always have it with me no matter what I’m doing. I send about 8,000 messages a month. That means that I send 267 messages in a day, and 12 every hour. The only time I’m not with my phone is usually when I’m sleeping, which is becoming quite rare and although many people might be wondering how I still have fingers and my eyesight, I cannot imagine m life without my smart phone.
Even educators have noticed that the impact that technology is having on the new generation is enormous. McKinney Independent School District is one of the first school districts to have an application on smart phones that allows you to check the lunch menu, look at your grades from the home access center, check current events, locate all of the schools, check employment, see what is new at the libraries and much more! The app is called MISDgo and it can be downloaded on apple, android, and blackberry devices. Schools can stream videos on their projectors to teach a lesson or use iPods to get the kids more involved and interested. Many classes do surveys that can be done from your phone and some teachers allow their students to use their cell phones for educational purposes to call them if they have questions on their homework or look up questions they cannot find in the textbook. This tactic keeps the students more involved because everything just seems to be more fun when you can do it on your own cell phone.
Teachers have also started incorporating Twitter and Facebook into their lessons. For example, at McKinney High School, the AP economics teacher Mr. Henry encourages his students to follow him on Twitter because he updates it with assignments and reminders. Many clubs, sports, and fine arts have created groups on Facebook and if you “like” or join the group you will get notifications leading you to their page that will have updated information. In cheer all of the MHS cheerleaders are required to be friends with a group called MHS lions cheer and it will be updated with events and what everyone needs to wear for certain events and performances.
Although all of this social media seems positive and helpful, it can also be harmful. Cyber bullying is very common, especially among teens. It is much easier to type something and post it on Facebook for everyone to see rather than say it to someone’s face. Hiding behind a computer seems to make some people think it is okay to bully because they don’t’ feel like they are really doing any harm by just tying something and posting it on the Internet. The truth is that because it is just words on a screen, the content can be interpreted however the reader wants it to be. Often times you might receive a text that says “Okay. See you then.” Some people might not think anything of it and move on, but someone else might read that and think that because of the periods and short phrases that the writer is not excited to see them or that they are angry. Cyber bullying is a major issue among teens and can be very harmful because it is public and if you say something about someone it only takes a second for the word to spread.
Other than using them for communication purposes, Facebook and Twitter are used just to be social and connect with many people and not have to call them just to know that you still have contact with them. At the app store on the apple iPhones, Facebook is ranked 22nd most popular app, Twitter is 30th, and Skype is 40th. People download these apps everyday and use them to connect with friends, be social, and keep up with current events.
Social media is becoming a part of our everyday lives and we are always finding new ways to apply it in our lives and stay updated with current events.
Status update: Townsquarebuzz is amazing and has great info! Everyone should like it! Just go to www.facebook.com/TownSquareBuzz and like us!
Teen Talk columnist Christine Baker is a senior at McKinney High School. Watch for her column on Fridays, as well as other various stories during the week.