Text Stressing—the Pressures of Staying Connected

Text Stressing—the Pressures of Staying Connected

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Editor’s Note: A new Associated Press-mtvU poll found that social networking has created a great deal of unnecessary stress for many young people. This week on YO!Radio,  we spoke to two young women about the daily pressures they face because of their social-networking habits. Donny Lumpkins is a content producer and Malcolm Marshall is the producer of YO!Radio.



 

Two women I know, Maria Khron and Samantha Dougles, have been friends for years. Though they have a lot in common—they are both 20, very popular and very outspoken—they have very different stances on texting and social networking. Maria doesn’t use social networking at all, and Sam does—a lot.

Though Maria stays connected with her friends by phone, she refuses to join any of the social networking sites, especially the one used by most people I know—Facebook. Among all our friends, she is the only one without a Facebook page. In fact, other than email, she doesn’t use the Internet to communicate with people.

“I just feel like its unnecessary to put out a lot of information about yourself on a site that anyone can view,” she says. “It’s for privacy purposes, I guess. I have different types of friends, and I just don’t want to be caught up in chaotic stuff happening,” she adds, referring to the drama that anyone with a Facebook or Twitter can attest to.

Maria says she hears too many horror stories about social networking to make her change her mind. One of these was a story she heard on the news.

“These girls decided to kidnap another student.” Maria says the girls apparently were angr at somethingthe other girl had said on MySpace. “They brought her to one of their houses and beat her up and decided to upload the video on MySpace as a joke. But it started to get serious when the cops found out and the kids got put in jail.”

Maria knows staying connected online has lots of benefits—for example, communicating with people at work or reconnecting with long-lost friends.
But she thinks that when it comes to social networking, honesty isn’t the best policy.

“Do not put your personal information out there, and don’t put a lot of true information out there about yourself. Maybe fabricate it a little bit, just as a precaution.”

Sam, on the other hand, embraces text messaging and social networking. She is one of the more popular people I know, and it’s reflected on her Facebook page, where the theme is “good friends and good times.”

“I have 455 friends,” Sam says with a smirk as we log on to her page to see what’s new in her world. Of that total, she figures she actually knows 350 people.

“I have some pictures that were uploaded from a few nights ago when we had a lot of fun,” she says, scrolling down the page a bit. “I also have a post [about] me getting a job, because everyone needs to know it.”

We can also see a number of comments from friends and acquaintances related to her posts, along with a lot of pictures. Most people can see the posts and pictures too, and this has gotten her into trouble. “Many times I have had drama over Facebook,” she says.

She isn’t willing to give any details, and I figure this is probably for the best. But from other people I've heard of beat-downs, breakups, make-ups, and assorted harassment—all as a result of Facebook.

Sam says she tries to keep the drama at a minimum by using some of Facebook’s privacy features that block certain information from certain people.

Like Maria, Sam thinks the best thing about social networking is being able to connect with people you would otherwise have lost touch with. Plus it’s a nice way to get to know someone without the hassle of having to be around them all the time. The worst part, she says, is having to forfeit her privacy.

Sam is one of my friends who’s notorious for always having her phone in her hand ,with her little fingers typing messages to God knows whom. She admits to sending and receiving at least 500 texts a day, which can sometimes get her in trouble, she admits.
And then there’s the pressure. “The text-messaging horror story of the year would probably be getting lets say 20 text messages in one day from one person just because you haven’t responded to them,” she says.

“When someone texts me and I don’t text them back, I don’t real feel any pressure about It,” she adds. “But definitely when I text someone else and they don’t text me back, I find myself checking my phone all the time.”

Yet with all this communication, not much is being said, she admits.

“Either it’s to meet up with someone, or really nothing important at all—just seeing what’s up with their day.”
Sam thinks with all this technology, life is “most definitely more stressful.”

“People can always find you, rather than just running into you on the streets.”

Sam says that at times, the stresses of always being connected can make you wonder why you’re subjecting yourself to that kind of public scrutiny in the first place. Then why does she do it, I ask?

“Just to stay connected.”