Capital vices have permeated the lives of humans since the dawn of man. So while it's not alarming to know they exist within social media, you may be surprised to see how and where they're popping up.
A relative new kid on the block, Pinterest has been allowing users to add and browse images since 2010. The images, which are little more than links to external content, are grouped into categories (e.g. Food & Drink, Gardening, Design) and are meant to serve as inspiration to energetic and industrious folks. What the site and mobile app has quickly turned into, however, is a place to virtually hoard scores of projects which users will actually never even attempt. But with its traffic rank breaking the Top 100 in early 2012, it seems users like what they see.
Microblogging broke out in 2007 with Tumblr leading the charge. The site is a place for users to post short, stream-of-consciousness-style entries with text, links, and images. Users can also follow other bloggers, and that's where greed comes into play. When it comes to social networking, success is measured in followers, and with a little effort and business acumen, popularity can be transformed into dollars and cents. The internet is now teeming with how-to articles for building your Tumblr following, and there are even entire businesses catering to desperate users looking to outsource the dirty work. Ultimately, only a relative few will benefit financially from a collection of followers, while everyone else will be left with little more than stale bragging rights.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but is a website full of user-uploaded pictures worth $715 million? Apparently Facebook thought so when they purchased the photo-sharing service Instagram in 2012. Aside from offering a place to share personal photos, Instagram also allows users to follow the photo streams of others. In our fame-centric society, it's no surprise that celebrities are the most-followed users. And when you consider that seven of the ten most followed celebrities are attractive young women, and how much buzz a Kardashian bikini update creates, it's safe to assume lust is a driving force behind the Instagram business model.
StumbleUpon isn't the first service you think of when you hear social media, but the discovery engine is driven by a network of users' input. The service has you initially install a button on your browser of choice. You can choose an area (or multiple areas) of interest from a list of categories, and then simply click the button to be transported to a destination catering to that interest. You have the option of clicking a Like or Dislike button, creating information which StumbleUpon will use to fine-tune its experience, but the reality is that very few people actually contribute. Basically, most people are just saddling up to their computer and having StumbleUpon browse the web for them.
While most of this article is fairly tongue-in-cheek, cyberbullying is an epidemic that should not be taken lightly. According to DoSomething.org, roughly 43% of kids have been bullied online, and victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. Cell phones are the weapon of choice for these tormentors, but social media is a common medium as well, and Facebook is the social network... it even portrayed The Social Network in film. Not having a Facebook presence has become socially odd, and this all but forces children into a realm where threats don't end with the school day, and bullies feel more empowered and less likely to get caught.
Let's face it, social media is all about self-importance. Status updates, family photos, links to what you like, and random musings are vanity at its finest. LinkedIn disguises this vice better than most, though. It serves as an online resume of sorts, allowing users to post all of their professional information (e.g. work history, education, achievements, recent activity). What we end up with is a virtual networking party, heavy on the indulgent boasting and feigned enthusiasm, but light on the food and drinks.
Twitter is second only in popularity to Facebook on the social media scene, but envy arguably gets the most traffic among deadly sins. When you put the two together, you get hate-following, a new trend where someone follows a celebrity they despise. The problem with disliking rather than ignoring is that the former requires an investment; you can't hate something properly without learning details about it. Twitter has become the #1 internet hotspot for celebrities, the place where they grant the public a peek into their personal lives. In 140 characters or less, you can find out what Ashton Kutcher is wearing, where Justin Bieber had lunch, or what viral video is making Katy Perry LOL. For fans, it's heaven... but for detractors, it's an all-you-can-hate buffet, a regularly replenished stockpile of ammunition.