Social Media as Mere Entertainment

            Contrary to how social media used to be when it first started, I emphasize that the content of social media has taken a turn for the worst. I say this because social media has recently developed a strong aspect of entertainment. This meaning, that social networking sites have altered their content from information and communication, to a place where people feel they can be and are entertained. This troubles me because entertainment was not the main purpose for creating these social networking sites when they first came about. Facebook and Twitter, two of the websites that account for a majority of social media, have continued to revolutionize the way we communicate with one another and find out information. Although these two aspects seem to have been the main purpose for the upbringing of social media, I feel that in today’s world, the leading cause for a person to log onto one of these sites is the need for entertainment.

            People have a choice of which type of news they wish to obtain and which people they want to associate themselves with through social media. This means, they can be friends with whomever they choose on Facebook, and can follow whatever accounts they want to on Twitter based off of their own personal interests. Because of this, these websites have become addictively entertaining, and self directed, causing people to spend more time on them than they do even watching TV or listening to music. People only visit these sites in hopes of seeing something they find interesting, humorous, or brilliant, and as they continue to do so, an addictive bond begins to form. This is just human nature, as people are attracted to things that are entertaining. This has the social networking users coming back to these sites more often, looking for more entertaining content, which is not the reason these sites are supposed to be used.

            Although this may seem like a negative reality, it is not all that bad. People still use social media as a way of getting information and news, as well as to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, but the entertainment aspect of Facebook and Twitter, as well as other websites, has increased rapidly over recent years. I use Twitter frequently, and I feel that there are many more Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that are there for the sole purpose of humor and jokes than there used to be. As I scroll through my Twitter feed nowadays, there are numerous people “retweeting” jokes from these accounts. In an article titled, “The Flight from Conversation,” by Shelly Turkle from the New York Times, she states, “These days, social media continually asks us what’s “on our mind,” but we have little motivation to say something truly self-reflective,” (Turkle 2). Social networking is supposed to give some sort of information about yourself or what you are thinking, but people sometimes post things that have little self-meaning, and are just posted for the purpose of entertainment and making people laugh. Many people create Twitter accounts or make Facebook pages and post things unrelated to themselves, or what they are doing. On the one hand, I do not think there is anything wrong with having social media sites full of entertainment. It allows for the sites to have another aspect to have more people attracted to them. On the other hand, social media was originally created for the sole purpose of communicating with people and finding out news about your friends and the world, and as entertainment comes into the world of social media, it changes main idea of what it is supposed to be used for.

            Although it was not originally intended for an entertainment aspect, social media has allowed for entertainment to become a main component of its content. I feel that entertainment becoming a major part of social media has its pros and cons, which makes for and interesting argument as to whether it is helping or hurting social media and these social networking sites. It will be interesting to see how else entertainment can find its way into social networking sites. It may be possible that a new website emerges that has aspects of social media, but has a main purpose of entertainment, such as humor or jokes. Hopefully entertainment will not fully take over the social networking sites we use now. It would be a shame to see Facebook and Twitter become irrelevant to what they were meant for in the first place, communication and information.