ARE people too obsessed with social media?

This seems to be a question that looms large in today’s society.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any number of other sites I was born just early enough to miss out on, the 21st century has been one of “likes” and “tweets”, and the sharing of our personal lives with the online world.

Just browsing through Facebook I will see cryptic status updates/cries for help, be told via an app how far along an old acquaintance’s baby is and will be bombarded with invitations to play games or attend club nights from people I unwisely accepted as a friend years ago.

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Twitter is slightly different — it has given people the chance to interact with their idols, and it has given those idols a platform to share their views with the world, though whether that is a good thing is dubious.

And as if people don’t already have a short enough attention span, Vine was introduced, in an attempt to see how far people will go to get six seconds of relative Internet fame.

According to the SocialLife report by Harris Interactive, 87 per cent of online UK consumers have at least one social media account, while the average social media user is signed up to 3.1 social media platforms.

Many people, myself unfortunately included, cannot go without periodically checking Facebook to see if anything new has occurred, or disinterestedly scrolling down the page looking at details of peoples’ lives, possibly one in ten of whom I actually maintain contact with.

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Social media is the king of procrastination, yet, productivity aside, it seems it may cause other issues.

Harris Interactive found that more than half of those surveyed suffered anxiety about missing important online events, and that the “fear of missing out” was reflected in various different social media platforms.

This could be either a case of comparing their own lives negatively compared to pictures on Instagram and updates on Facebook or feeling anxious about missing out on the latest hashtags on Twitter, according to the study.

Or even (and I admit to this one) worrying what people will think after playing a particularly embarrassing song or playlist on Spotify, without having first made it “private”.

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These sites certainly have their benefits though, as, on Twitter in particular, finding news has never been so quick and easy, and there is a range of knowledge and information at the user’s fingertips.

Although fairly new to Twitter, as an aspiring journalist I have already found it to be a quick and easy way of getting in contact with people.

Many of the most influential people in the world share their views, which can be both humorous and enlightening.

On the other hand, a quick look at some of Jaden Smith’s offerings (he’s the son of Will Smith) — such as “If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Planet Earth” — makes you wonder if we could do without after all.