Social media and students: a complicated relationship

On Oct. 4 Facebook and Instagram had a six-hour long outage. Abby VanDien, a freshman at Minnesota State University, Mankato said, “I didn’t even notice that it had happened until I went onto social media later and heard people talking about the outage.” 

Social media, including Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are present in the lives of most students for a multitude of reasons, but exactly how relevant are they? 

MNSU junior Joseph Fussy uses social media for news, and said that he didn’t care about the outage. But not every student had the same experience. 

MNSU student Jezrah McNinch, on the other hand, uses social media for entertainment purposes. She stated, “It affected me, but not so severe that I was upset with it. I was very confused and was wondering what happened; if it was my internet or something wrong with my phone.” 

Since the outage occurred midday, many students had classes to occupy their time. But it still got students thinking of what they would do with the time they otherwise spent on social media if it were to crash again. 

DanVien said, “I don’t know. Because, I would say hang out with my friends, but I don’t know how to connect with them otherwise. But also, I guess, watch T.V. or probably go outside more.” 

Similarly, McNinch stated, “I’d probably watch a lot of movies.”

Ny Robins didn’t even have to think about this question. The sophomore at MNSU doesn’t have social media. She explains her decision, “I feel like people get stuck on their phones. But me, I just enjoy life. I don’t like social media. I think it’s toxic.” 

In the time another student may spend on social media, Robins says, “I run track. I think I socialize in person instead of on my phone.” 

Furthermore, MNSU freshman Brooke Nelson agrees with the sentiment that she’d be more social in person without social media. 

“It would definitely get me more involved with people,” she says. “More conversations and group settings. Definitely prioritize school even more. Maybe emphasize more studying time or working ahead.” 

Nelson also mentioned having done a social media break in the past and the benefits it had for her. 

“It was because of a trip,” she explains. “I went camping up north, and I would be like, yeah, okay, no service. So obviously, that kinda forced me to unwind and that was really peaceful and like a breath of fresh air and just a reset button.” 

Fussy takes social media breaks as well. He commented on his experiences, “It was for studying. I go on phone detoxes around finals.” He reported finding them helpful. 

Perhaps the recent outage served as the required social media break we all needed. Whether social media is your friend, or something you consider to outweigh the positives with the negatives, a detox may help clear your mind. 

Header Photo: Students express they would focus on their school work more without the presence of social media ingrained in their daily lives. (Jenny Kane/Associated Press)

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