The Internet Ate My Homework

Margie Muller Staff Writer As a reformed Tumblr addict, I’ve found that social networking as a whole is just obsession. First, it begins as simply logging on every now and then, then it progresses into interrupting your homework, and finally, you’re bringing your computer to every class, guiltily checking your favorite websites. The age of social networking has brought distraction and procrastination to the forefront of my mind. Sitting at the computer, scrolling through pages and pages of memes and gifs, I continually thought ‘Oh, one more page. That’s it. Then I’ll start working on that essay.’ Of course, one page turned into dozens of pages and before I knew it, I had wasted an hour, staring at GPOYs. For those of you not hip to the lingo, that stands for Gratuitous Picture of Yourself. My history with social networking began with Facebook in eighth grade. I was so worried about my internet identity that I paraded around with a pseudonym. Facebook for awhile maintained a constant stream of information about other people’s lives. However, it quickly became monotonous to see the same things over and over again (i.e. Bob’s going to the beach again!). The Facebook trend fizzled out. What was there to fill the void? Tumblr, created by David Karp and launched in 2007, is a short-form blogging community. In my world, it was meant for interacting with other people across the globe who were involved in my ‘fandoms.’ Fandoms are the generalized name for a fan group dedicated to one specific piece of popular culture. For instance, there is a massive online fandom dedicated to Glee and smaller ones for Les Miserables and other lesser known platforms. Tumblr demonstrates a great sense of community that our generation lacks from electronic communication. Once my friends started joining Tumblr, we all became Tumblraddicts, going on the sight day in and day out and scrolling through pages of pretty much mindless entertainment, too tired to study. It was a dream and a nightmare. However, I started to become disenchanted with the site, stemming from the superfluous hatred sent between users through their inboxes. Tumblr became a battleground rather than a place to express myself. It slowly drifted off of my radar until I barely ever checked it. It was a little lonely, drifting around without my blogging platform. My internet life almost ceased to exist and I indulged more in the real world (for which I am terrible grateful). Recently, though, I have been exposed to the newest big social networking site, a mix between Tumblr and online shopping. Pinterest was launched in March of this year. It’s main purpose is to serve it’s users with ‘boards’ to pin pictures from the internet they like. I had been hearing about the website for some time before requesting an invitation to join. A seemingly exclusive online club, Pinterest seeks to draw from all different aspects of our lives, whether it be fashion, or food, or colors, or anything else, and spread it to the other users. There are a few features of Pinterest that really draw me to it. 1.     The universal board: A compilation of all the pins in real time so that you can find new people to follow or things to post on your boards. 2.     Facebook connection: No one likes seeing someone’s Facebook fill up with updates from another website. Connecting to Facebook on Pinterest allows you the option to not post, but also let people you know find you. 3.     The ‘pin it’ feature, which allows you to take photos from other websites you visit and put them on your boards with just a few clicks of the mouse instead of having to download the photo. 4.     Probably the best feature of the site is that it is non-addictive. In my experience, I have not watched the site for hours on end, waiting for each update. You can visit it every now and then and not worry about missing much. It’s always there, even if just for a few minutes of your day. At Latin, social media seems to be an inherent part of communication and success. Pre-finals Facebook chats, message-thread study guides, and RomanGov posts are increasingly more common than printed-out nots, and (God forbid) face-to-face flashcard quizzing. There simply isn’t a time or place for something that isn’t interconnected with all aspects of our day (from school to social scanning to scouring Pinterest). Perhaps my fateful eighth-grade action cost me hours of semi-wasted scrolling, but it did create a greater connection between me and the rest of the student body. Internet is both a blessing and a curse, best used in moderation. Now, I can’t say Pinterest is for everyone, but neither is Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter. What I like about both Pinterest and Tumblr is the ability to express myself and find internet communities (like Latin) across the globe in all different forms. But whatever we may find, it’s important to be wary of the consequences.]]>