Tech Tuesday: The tech that helps you procrastinate


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Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

Photo Illustration | Though students have been procrastinating for as long as there has been homework, the development of social media, digital games and other 21st century technologies have helped them find new and more efficient ways to do so.


With finals just around the corner, students are beginning to lock down and study for exams that will likely be the deciding factor in their final grades. Along with studying, some students might even find themselves procrastinating.

According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 80 to 95 percent of college students procrastinate. In addition, one of the top reasons for incomplete graduate dissertations is procrastination.

Another study found that the leading procrastination techniques for college students include watching movies and using social media, according to the Huffington Post.

Social media has become nearly ubiquitous, used by people of all demographics. As of 2015, about 65 percent of American adults use social networking sites, an increase from just 7 percent in 2005, according to the Pew Research Center.

About 90 percent of young adults, those aged 18 to 29, use social media. This is an increase from about 12 percent in 2005, according to the site.

Social networking sites are defined as places where users can share pieces of their lives and communicate with others. Examples include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, according to the BBC.

But social media is not a new phenomenon, as it has been around since the 1970s. The first social media service, called Bulletin Board System (BBS), was a place where text-only pieces of data were shared among users, according to Digital Trends.

BBSes were accessed over telephone lines and through modems, meaning people in a local area typically communicated with one another, as long distance calling presented additional charges, according to the site.

Later came CompuServe, which allowed users to share files and access news. It gave users the ability to email each other and post on forums regarding any news topic, according to the site.

Eventually, websites came up that created virtual connections between users, creating the foundation for popular social networking sites today. They also let users create events and read other users’ profiles, according to the site.

At their base all of these social networking websites are the same, as they are built on the same pieces of software, according to ITworld.

For example, they are built on open-sourced software, using operating systems like Linux. In addition, they use Apache web servers and MySQL to maintain databases of information, according to the site.

Operating systems are the piece of software that communicates between the human user and the hardware of the machine, according to Kansas State University. Examples of operating systems are Linux and Windows.

Web servers store the components of the website such as images and documents in order for users can access them. They include pieces that determine how users can access files on the website, according to the Mozilla Developer Network.

Though not much information is made available regarding the code behind social media websites, some pieces are accessible so developers can create their own applications for these websites, according to ITworld.

Twitter, for example, made it known that it uses an instant-messaging software called Jabber to share tweets that are shared with all desired users. Essentially, a tweet sends directly to its desired location once it is sent, according to the site.

Using websites like Twitter on a mobile phone allows for unique ways to share messages. Twitter was specifically designed to be used on mobile phones for this reason, according to howstuffworks.com.

Tweets are sent to Twitter from a text message on a mobile phone. The text message is sent to mobile switching center, which gives the message to signal transfer point, then sends the message to a short message service center and finally to Twitter, according to the site.

Each of these components on the pathway essentially route the message to where it needs to go. When Twitter receives a tweet, it sends the tweet out to any recipients by following the pathway in reverse order, according to the site.

Tweets have a character limit because of the character limit on text messages as a result of this system. This system is favorable because many cell phone service providers support text messages, so tweets can reach a large group of users, according to the site.


Harshel Patel is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry. He is the digital editor of The Daily Targum. He can be found on Twitter @harshel_p.


Harshel Patel

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