The world changed overnight when it was introduced to the Internet, a new accomplishment for mankind. However, this mecca of information has turned from a resource to a distraction during the social media age. Social networking apps, such as Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, distract people from and destroy the education process, turning this once great tool into an empty void of meaningless reblogs and vain selfies.
Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr are three of the most popular social networking applications in existence today. Instagram is an online photo and video sharing service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them with their followers. Some lingo that is exclusive to Instagram is the “like”, similar to that of Facebook. People who are familiar with Instagram know that if a photo doesn't get a lot of likes, it is considered irrelevant, which has lead to an entire generation of people obsessed with a stupid number in an orange box. Twitter is an online social networking and microbloging application that enables users to send and read "tweets", which are like text messages, but limited to 140 characters. Users can post anything on their mind and has become an inlet to a person’s mind, which most of the time is just information that honestly, people don't care about. Some vernacular exclusive to Twitter is the “retweet” and the “favorite”. Both motions signify that
someone thought a certain “tweet”, which was the message written, was interesting or entertaining in some way. Lastly, Tumblr, allows users to post a variety of multimedia, like pictures,videos, songs and other content to a short-form blog. Some lingo that is exclusive to Tumblr is the “reblog”, similar to the retweet of Twitter. It allows users to repost a favorite post on to their profile.
How can teachers compete with these social media apps? Students are instantly gratified when they receive another like, reblog, or favorite. This destroys the attention spans of teenagers and tweens alike. Diana Tamir, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Center on Media and Child Health in Boston, says, “The lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.” This distraction is like an addicting drug. People constantly sit staring at their phones, constantly refreshing news feeds to get the latest information. People crave affirmations from their peers in the forms of likes, favorites, shares, retweets and reblogs. Its almost as if we become irrelevant without loads of internet attention. Who wants to pay attention during a lecture when you could watch the selfie you just took with your cat climbs in likes? These apps are constant positive stimuli to teens. Likes, reblogs, and retweets compel individuals to buy into social media. A “like” can brighten a social media junkie’s day the same way a complement on your outfit used to. Teachers are noticing how distracting this technology is. An english teacher from California was quoted saying “I am an entertainer. I have to do a song and dance to keep their attention.”(Richtel) Teachers shouldn't have to parade around the classroom to keep the attention of their students. But because of this,
teachers are forced to either get creative with their education techniques or become stricter with their “no cell phone policy”. Some schools, like Woodside High School, are making an attempt to integrate technology as much as possible into their curriculum. The principal of this school, David Reilly, has asked teachers to build Web sites to communicate with students, introduce popular classes about using digital tools to record music, secure funding for iPads to teach Mandarin, and has