Social media gives a voice to 20-somethings
I am a slave to social media.
Nothing excites me more than tweeting clever musings or seeing a scandalous break-up pop up in my Facebook mini-feed. I read Perez Hilton more times a day than the New York Times and my obsession with cat blogs borders on neurotic.
However, I am not alone. Today’s generation is fascinated with talking about themselves and stalking others using modern internet technologies.
Our generation has become undeniably narcissistic, with an insatiable need to be noticed via obnoxious Facebook updates or mundane tweets. Therefore, many individuals become obsessed with how many people are actually reading their posts. For Ithaca College sophomore and self-made Twitter celebrity Josh Sherman, also known as @iamjosherman, an innocent link between his vlog and Twitter account resulted in a staggering following of more than 3,000.
“There was almost two years between my first and third tweets. I honestly thought the site would never take off,” Sherman said.
Not only has Twitter taken off, but so has Sherman’s popularity on the site. He received a direct message on Twitter from an organization that offers heavily-followed users money for tweeting about their products.
“I’m a poor college kid, and I couldn’t think of any reason against it, so I did it for a little while, but now not so much,” Sherman said.
However, reaching social-media-celeb status does have its pitfalls, because with great Twitter power comes great responsibility.
“I made a slightly controversial comment on Twitter about a recent news story and before I knew it, I had about twenty people I didn’t know retweeting me,” Sherman said. “But on the other hand, about ten or so people yelling at me over my opinion.”
Social media has also infiltrated the world of news reporting. Today, subjective blogs are often turned to for both general news and updates in niche areas of interest. Sophomore Olivia Consol, Ithaca College’s representative for the blog College Fashionista, reports on the latest campus trends for readers worldwide. She explained that compared to traditional journalism, blogging has bonuses for readers.
“I think people are willing to sacrifice credibility for accessibility and because blogs usually have narrower topics, people get more personalized news,” Consol said, and noted that blogging is a great option for writers, as well.
“I have the freedom to work on my time and I have very few constraints,” she said. Still, she added “the freedom makes it hard to buckle down and get stuff done so I tend to procrastinate.”
According to Doug Firebaugh, the man behind the popular blog Social Media Blogster, the reasoning behind our generation’s obsession with social media is attributed to the basic human needs for belonging and esteem, which are part of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. After studying the psychology of social media for three and a half years, he created the Seven Psychological As of Social Media: to be acknowledged, to gain attention, to be approved of, to be appreciated, to be acclaimed, to feel assured and to be a part of.
Sherman’s beliefs behind the psychology of social media align with Firebaugh’s assertion.
“I think people obsess a little over their follower count because I feel everyone inherently wants their fifteen minutes of fame,” he explained. “So if this website offers a few more than fifteen, why not give it your all?”
Although older generations may not understand our generation’s narcissistic and borderline stalker tendencies involved with social media sites, we have simply found a way to cyber-accomplish human needs.
“Our generation is obsessed now more than ever with social media because it is shrinking our world and making long-distance communication easier than ever,” Sherman said.
So stalk your ex-boyfriend’s Facebook wall or Britney Spears’ Twitter page with pride, 20-somethings, because on the road to self-discovery, social media may be the missing link.
@frantoscano is a sophomore IMC major who only wrote this article so you’d follow here on Twitter. #butactually. Email her at ftoscan1[at]ithaca[dot]edu.
THREE Blogs You Should Follow
1.Texts from Bennett
Mac, the blogger behind Texts from Bennett, posts pictures of text messages from his cousin Bennett, who is a 17-year-old white boy who is disillusioned into believing he is a ghetto hood rat. Bennett’s hilarious antics and uneducated rants will be sure to make you ROFL.
2. Paula Deen Riding Things
Paula Deen, successful restauranteur and America’s premiere butter enthusiast, has a charismatic personality that is sure to attract any foodie. How does one make her even more interesting, you ask? Photoshop her on top of things. This hysterical blog provides pages upon pages of Paula Deen riding everything imaginable.
3. Hell Yes Hipster Disney
If you don’t know all of the lyrics to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World,” you either did not have a childhood or lack a soul. For the rest of us Disney lovers, Hell Yes Hipster Disney takes some of our most beloved Disney characters and makes them hipster. Whether it’s Ariel in thick-rimmed glasses or Pocahontas rocking a scarf, Hell Yes Hipster Disney transforms the characters of yesterday into today’s stereotypes.
– Francesca Toscano