Harrisburg University underwent an interesting experiment on Friday that blocked major social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. The initial reaction from the student body was largely not in favor of this idea but after the first day several had a change of heart. The results thus far showed more concentration in classrooms, students were reporting being more relaxed, and collaboration tools were sought out that originally they had not been exposed to online. Several students reported that this experiment brought to the forefront just how much these social media giants can take over your life.
The experiment was not a complete blackout as the students were able to visit other websites and engage in various other searches online, email, and visit other social media based websites. Also, if they had a smart phone they could actually pull up facebook or twitter on them but the idea was to not have as conveniently accessible everywhere you go.
It seems as though this highlights a overwhelming truth that we, as a society, are becoming very reliant on these types of platforms and while it is convenient to do so we cannot limit ourselves to engaging only in this manner. The very technologies that encompass the Age of Information may inhibit that by not allowing for competitors and growth of the market. Back in ’05 TechCrunch suggested 85% of college students use Facebook so you can imagine that the numbers since then haven’t tapered off to any extent. To compliment that statistic, Mashable suggests that 18.1 million users actually use twitter (log in at least once per month).