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Social media: A game of phones

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

If I skip over being violent towards my alarm clock for waking me up at an ungodly hour of the morning, the first thing I do is pick up my phone. And, being honest, I’m not making phone calls related to my job.

My first activity of the day is to obsess over other people’s lives. This sounds a bit creepy, but be honest with yourself – are you not the same? It seems that social media has become our first and last thought when we wake and before we sleep.

Far from the classic days of booting up the laptop before logging in to Facebook or Twitter, now all we have to do is look at the very top of our phone or tablet screen to see if anyone loves us or finds us interesting enough to favourite our tweet.

The Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey reported that 71% of people use social media on their smartphone.

That is a frightening, albeit unsurprising statistic. Social media and smartphones seem to have forged an alliance in a fearsome bid to take over our lives; an alliance that has crushed the online world with its success, bringing more and more people under its spell.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have succumbed to this. Every morning, during the day, and the last thing I do at night is check social media. A testament as to my social life in the real world perhaps, but I know I’m not alone. A lot of people I know report on a nightly basis that they’re going to bed, then an hour later tweet again as if they forgot. Quite amusing, but it shows how addictive it is!

But why have smartphones become the dominant medium for social media? Well, the most obvious reason is accessibility. It’s so easy to use on your phone – the apps allow you to simply open it and already be logged in.

It’s also available on the go. We live in an increasingly demanding society where everything must be available at all times, and we must always be occupied. You only have to look at people walking down the street to notice that most have their eyes glued to their phone (leading to a massive increase in walked-into-lamppost hospital visits).

A third reason is mobile app exclusivity. The likes of Instagram and Snapchat are only fully accessible on mobile, meaning mobile use becomes not just a convenience, but a necessity.

Whatever the reason, mobile has become the norm of social media. Perhaps this is condemning our actual social lives – so much so that people are already ‘phubbing’ (snubbing your friends for your phone).

Either way, social media equates to the Lannisters in the Game of Phones.

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