Students' obsession with trivia on social network can damage career prospects

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 May, 2012, 12:00am


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As the internet becomes ever more an integral part of our daily lives, certain activities are becoming unthinkable without it.

Wikipedia is inextricably linked with the idea of collaboration and Google has become synonymous with the act of seeking out information and is now used as a verb.

Most notably, Facebook has become our strongest connection to others. It is user-friendly and helps users to stay connected to friends and family. This all begs the question - has the virtual world become more important than the real one?

Despite the social contact it provides, it seems that Facebook may be detrimental to social interaction. Ironically, it hampers this kind of communication. It is a common sight nowadays for some families to be sitting silently in restaurants, engrossed by Facebook.

A few years ago, you would have seen these same families engaged in boisterous conversation. Social gatherings are an opportunity for people to practise and learn different social skills and this helps them to become well-adjusted members of society. However, people are now losing these skills.

It is disheartening to realise that people would rather read the trivial notes of others than have a conversation with the person sitting in front of them. And when it comes to trivial information, Facebook is second to none.

When Mark Zuckerberg founded this social network, it was used as a tool for university students to discuss class projects and study together. He and his classmates achieved high scores in their art history exam by using Facebook. Now, people often use it to upload photos of food or tell each other what they are doing.

People are willing to waste hours exchanging a seemingly endless stream of frivolous information. Most troubling is the huge number of students wasting an undue amount of precious time on Facebook. They should be using that time to learn skills that help them prepare for their future. However, many use Facebook as a means of escape from the pressures they face in life.

They neglect their studies and their other responsibilities, preferring to chat online or post funny pictures. They develop bad habits which could persist and harm their future prospects.

Facebook can enhance our lives if used in moderation. But people must stay focused and minimise the time spent on trivial and mundane updates.

Ho Kam-tong, Yuen Long