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Social networking has become an unquestionable part of our everyday lives. We do not even think anything of it, because so many people have accounts on websites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, etc., that are checked and updated daily. Those who have a life on the internet do not always realize that they are losing their connections with the real world. Nowadays, a reputation online is more important, and communication thrives through social networking. New cliques are created, and some are even finding a way to make a living online. Social media seems to have quite the impact, especially on teenagers. However, most do not see the impact that it has.

Years ago, before social networking existed, friends would go out and have a good time, and popularity in high school would be something of importance to a lot of people. Today, popularity is the equivalent to having a lot of followers on twitter or Tumblr. Tumblr has its own way of creating “celebrities.” Users are considered “Tumblr famous” if they have a high number of followers. This sure is a way to boost your ego, and also a way to become completely conceited. Websites like these make us think that greatness is achieved just because thousands of strangers are familiar with your face. Popularity is not about having a lot of friends anymore; it is just about being known for absolutely nothing.
Social networking has its positives, considering it allows us to connect with friends and family in a matter of seconds. Although this is extremely useful, it is also destroying our ability to make real life conversations. People are bullied over the internet, but do not say a word to each other in person. Confrontations occur over tweets and text posts, but never face to face (Kiteley-Schulz). Some say that it would cause less drama to do all this online, but is it true that someone would come out to be the bigger person if they cannot man up and face the consequences of their actions in real life? Social media is preventing us from standing up for ourselves the way we should be. Facebook is detrimental to our social lives, because we can just visit someone’s wall, say hi, and have a brief conversation and consider that as communication. The reason conversations tend to be brief is because when we look at someone’s Facebook wall, we already see what they are doing and what they have been up to, so that stops us from asking them (Kiteley-Schulz). Facebook limits our conversations that we have with people, which is why it is always better to strike up a conversation in person instead of through a computer screen. Institute of Technology professor Sherry Turkle says, “We have invented inspiring and enhancing technologies, yet we have allowed them to diminish us" (Huff). Social networking destroys the true meaning of human interaction.
Not only do social networks interfere with the way we converse, it also distorts certain styles, creating cliques of their own. Now, if you were to ask someone who has a Tumblr what a hipster was, they would say something along the lines of a preteen girl who is obsessed with mustaches, galaxies, and triangles that sits around in coffee shops (preferably Starbucks) with their over-sized glasses, blogging away on their MacBook. It’s ironic how hipsters went from being originated in the 1940’s as “underground” individuals who enjoyed Jazz and being original to crazed bloggers that listen to Bon Iver for hours on end and claim how vintage they are. Hipsters are not as “hipster” as they used to be, considering thousands of people claim to now be one (Cassar). Grunge has also become modern, and has gone from being a type of rock music to the new fashion frenzy. No, I’m not talking about the baggy ripped jeans with an x-large plaid shirt. Grunge now comes in different varieties, such as soft grunge and pastel grunge (I have no idea what this is supposed to even mean, considering it is something made up from Tumblr.) Supposedly, it involves having pastel colored hair color, high-waisted shorts, upside-down crosses and studs; on everything. These styles have become cliques because of social networking, and their original definitions have nothing to do with what they are considered to be today.
Teens are finding new ways to make a living off of advertisements that they post on their social networking pages. If they have a lot of followers, the owner of the webpage can direct people to the ad, and every time the ad gets clicked on, they make a profit. Twitter has also announced “Promoted Tweets,” which allows companies to promote themselves on the website (Milian). Social networks allow us to make money without even getting up off the couch. Being out in the real world and working creates ways to communicate and is a crucial part of life, but that will be destroyed if young teens think it is okay to just make money through social media. Social networking makes things easier, but that does not always mean that it makes things better.
Social networking affects young lives and causes teens to grow up differently than how their older relatives have. They rely on their blogs and pages to communicate with people, keep up with the latest trends and enjoy their separate little world. Social media has ruined how life should be; fun, adventurous and exciting. Instead, it has turned most teenagers into anti-social couch potatoes. There needs to be a break from social networking so young people can once again live a real life in the real world.



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