Are We Addicted to Social Media?

There have been numerous stories lately concerning how people use social media and the amount of time spent, as well as how much personal information is placed on these platforms. The one most discussed is of course Facebook, which is expected to have 1.34 billion active users by the end of this year.

As of January, 2018, India has the most active Facebook users, with 250 million. The United States comes in second, with 230 million. Here are the top ten:

That’s just a single social media platform. Data for Twitter shows that they currently have 335 million active users, 69 million of those within the U.S.

Statistics for the year 2017 show that the average daily usage on Facebook is 35 minutes, while, get this, the average for Twitter is one minute. Of course these date aren’t current.

Pew Research have some interesting numbers of social media utilization including demographics by age, income, etc.

With all of the data gathered on these platforms over the past several years, does it inform us of anything that may cause concern?

Of course, there are the concerns of privacy. Most users of these platforms willingly or not surrender a certain amount of privacy whenever they log into a specific platform. These companies gather data such as user logins per day, how much time per login, and Facebook (Twitter as well) will even look at what users are posting about that they may target advertisements at those users. It is the way they make money, snd most Facebook users I know, realize this, but don’t care.

Another problem may be how these date are used by these companies other than for targeted advertising. We know from recent news reports that Facebook data has been used to gather information of potential voters for each party, during the 2016 election and before. IS any of this illegal? No. It appars that no data were stolen; Facebook allowed these data to be mined.

Consider that for a moment.

I am not advocating for users to abadon their social media accounts. I am especially not in favor of government attempting to regulate any of these platforms. No matter what you may think about them, or how biased they might appear to some, they are private corporations and should be able to set their own rules of conduct.

Social media is neither good or evil. It’s just a thing; Something that a lot of people enjoy currently, with the caveat that there ls always the next new thing. We have no idea what that may be, but it’s sure to come.

Are we addicted to sociaal media? As a whole I would posit no. There may be individual users that appear to be, but I believe that we’re far from being able to call any of these platforms an addiction.

 

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