The individual characteristics of one who utilizes technology such as the internet and social media could have an impact on the experience that the user has with the technology, however, a wide variety of users may have the same experience depending on the technology. Interestingly, however, those who frequently utilizes technologies such as gaming may possess a wide variety of characteristics. This varied group of users tends to all have a positive experience that often involves their friends when utilizing gaming technology. In addition, certain characteristics of internet users are starting to apply less with advances in social media; nowadays, those who are more sociable are having better experiences using the internet than those who are less sociable. Use of the internet, however, can lead to overuse in some people which can lead to internet addition. This condition varies by culture with some commonalities among those who experience the condition.
Individual characteristics of ‘gamers’ is no longer the same as it was in previous decades. In today’s society, a ‘gamer’ can possess a variety of characteristics and be a variety of different ages. According to “2014 Sales, Demographic, and Usage Data: Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry,” almost 60% of Americans play video games. In addition, the average game player can no longer be assumed to be the teenage male; “the average game player is 31 years old” and females make up almost half of the game players (“Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry”). According to the information provided in the sales report, avid game players spent less time watching television and going to the movies. However, the participation in gamer playing did not necessarily cut down on social interaction. The majority of gamers play games with others, many choosing to play games with friends. The use of technologies to play games with others is seen by many as a positive part of a person’s life.

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According to “Who Acquires Friends through Social Media and Why? ‘Rich Get Richer’ versus ‘Seek and Ye Shall Find,’” todays internet users are more sociable that the internet users of pervious decades (Tufekci, 2010). Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow those who are more sociable offline to benefit more from online interaction whereas in previous years, those who were less social seemed to be the ones who preferred internet interaction. Because of this trend, those who have more social contacts benefit more from internet usage. As the author points out, those who have more social contacts tend to be female and white. Therefore, one would assume being both white and female would enhance one’s experience utilizing social media and technology.

Internet and social media use by some people can lead to overuse and even addition. This phenomenon is documented in the article “Internet Addiction or Excessive Internet Use.” This condition is characterized by “Excessive or poorly controlled preoccupations, urges or behaviors regarding Internet use that lead to impairment or distress” (Weinstein & Lejoyeux, 2010, p. 277). This condition varies in prevalence depending on the country and culture of the user with problematic users generally concentrating on excessive gaming, cybersex, and email or text messaging (Weinstein & Lejoyeux, 2010). One of the characteristics that the researcher believe that those who become addicted to the internet may possess is that of social anxiety. Other conditions and characteristics that have been linked to problematic use of the internet are ADHD, depression, and obsessive compulsive personality disorders. Additionally, there is some evidence that a person’s genetics can play a role in whether or not he or she becomes and internet addict. According to a study performed in Korea which is discussed in Weinstein and Lejoyeux’s article “Internet Addiction or Excessive Internet Use,” “subjects with excessive internet use may have genetic and personality traits similar to depressed patients.

One’s personal characteristics can have an impact on the way in which the person experiences the internet, technology, and social media, however, in many instances those with differing characteristics have basically the same experience with the technology. Gamers tend to vary in characteristics, yet they all experience satisfaction from gaming. Those who utilize social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, however, many be more likely to have more internet social interactions if they are white and female. In addition, the characteristics of those who become addicted to the internet can vary but tend to be linked to people with social anxiety.

    References
  • “2014 Sales, Demographic, and Usage Data: Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry.” Entertainment Software Association.
  • Tufekci, Z. (2010). “Who Acquires Friends through Social Media and Why? ‘Rich Get Richer’ versus ‘Seek and Ye Shall Find.”
  • Weinstein, A. & Lejoyeux, M. (2010). “Internet Addiction or Excessive Internet Use.” The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 36: 277 – 283.