In the time it takes for you to read this sentence, over an hour of footage will have been uploaded to Youtube. This surplus of media has led to a conundrum often referred to as the paradox of choice.
It would be impossible to access all of these clips, as the time it takes to watch even all the videos of shark sightings is growing exponentially. This potential for media use is unlike anything humans have seen before. With all these choices, media can be addicting, causing people to be constantly checking seven different types of social media in order to stay “in the loop.”
Has this availability of data overcome its potential? There are more pictures of elephants on a simple google search than there are still alive today. There are more links on Amazon than books in the Library of Congress.
This cornucopia of data has exceeded the possibility to access it all. Readily available to millions of people in the blink of an eye, the endless potential is one click away. The only problem is that there is no way for an individual to access the media’s excess.
It would take nearly a lifetime to listen to all the songs in the rock genre on Spotify. To look at each picture of clouds on Instagram for just one second would take almost 16 years of continuous scrolling.
The social network can become addictive. The norm has become a smart phone, allowing any person to connect from nearly anywhere. With an excess of access to anything anyone would want to know about almost anything, it’s no wonder why people are constantly online. This power can be easily abused.
The amount of things a smartphone can do is exceeding the human capability to use it. The average screen size of a smartphone, according to research at GfK, has exceeded five inches as of 2015. The devices are literally too big to hold in one hand, and have an excess of functions to come with it.
With more data than people know what to do with, media sites have drawn a crowd of constant followers. More people follow Kim Kardashian (59 million) than watched the State of the Union address in 2016 (46 million). More people downloaded Justin Beiber’s music video “Sorry” than voted for president in 2012. Are people more concerned about the latest trend on media than events that happen in the country?
The immediate relief of checking Facebook to see alerts from friends becomes addictive. It reaches a point where people become attached to these sites and have a compulsive need to check in every few hours. This is an addiction that encompasses a large group of people from around the world that is constantly dialing in to one of several forms of media.
It becomes second nature to check up on friends and family through various forms of sharing pictures, videos and articles from the web. There are a limitless number of possible people to connect with that it almost requires constant attention. Just in the time it took you to read this article, more than 25,000 people updated their Facebook status.