Addiction is hard to admit, especially when the addiction doesn’t seem like an addiction at all.
At this point, I believe many adults are fooling themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched comments from people claiming that social media isn’t that important or that people take it too seriously. Not surprisingly, these comments usually appear when one or more people post or comment something they disagree with or have no further argument for (after writing a short novella, of course).
It is my belief we make this assumption that social media isn’t that influential because deep down we don’t want to admit that we have become addicted to the many social platforms that exist. We say it’s not significant, but the majority of us share very significant and sometimes intimate parts of ourselves on it every day. We post pictures of our newborns, our weddings, birthdays, the death of our loved ones, our personal opinions, our sexual preferences, new jobs or lost ones, things and services we’re trying to sell, our pets and the things we love and hate. We give advice and support, we ask personal questions, share knowledge and seek validation.
It is my belief we make this assumption that social media isn’t that influential because deep down we don’t want to admit that we have become addicted to the many social platforms that exist.
These are topics that at one time were only reserved for those closest to us or in our near proximity. Now they are shared globally.
I laugh to myself sometimes when I see the memes about minding one’s business because if you’re on social media at all that’s something you absolutely don’t do! We are minding everyone’s business and everyone’s thoughts and ideas every time we look at the news feed. Every time we log in.
And we can’t help it even if we try to trick ourselves into believing we can. These apps and platforms are psychologically designed to keep you coming back and to stay logged in. Millions of dollars are pumped into research on the best ways to accomplish this. Before you know it, the simple “I just want to check my messages” turns into a 2-hour scroll fest into a vortex of an unattainable end. Oh and don’t come across a post or comment that resonates with your soul or shakes your very delicate moral standing – you’re thus compelled to reply or react. (We’re still waiting on a permanent thumbs down option Facebook. Let’s ante up the arguments, I’m I right?!…)
The issue is no one seems to regard these behaviors as having any real effect on their personal lives, but that is simply not true. Real life conversations these days tend to start with “Did you see what such and such posted?!” Or “I sent you a meme or video, did you see it?” Or the ever popular “I was just talking about that on Facebook, go check it out.”
The thoughts of everyone linger with us all day. They spark us to post more based on what other people are posting. Even being unfriended or unfollowed will start a phone conversation with a close friend about how they don’t give a fuck (but you’re talking about it though…).
When we’re feeling especially downtrodden we reach out for support. It becomes much easier to tell everyone all at once when there’s a problem versus calling each individual in our network.
Everyone needs attention. Everyone enjoys adoration. It is human nature to desire the connection of others. It can be addicting.
So how can taking a break help do anything, especially when people don’t believe it’s a problem, to begin with?
I put this theory to test and decided to log off of all my social platforms October 12th, 2018. As of writing this article I have successfully resisted logging back in for 14 days. I had initially set a goal of about 7 days or so, but to my surprise, I’ve actually started to enjoy not tuning in.
Now, because I do have a business to promote, this hiatus won’t last much longer, but I will start making the break from social media a habit in my life. Whether I choose a week out of each month or a couple months a year is still to be determined, but regardless this is a life hack I will most definitely keep now and into the future.
These are just a few things that have improved my daily life since going on “TwitBookGram” vacation, but since this isn’t a permanent action, I’ve also taken the time to prepare for my return.
I’ll make sure to keep my notifications off so I log in only when I want or need to and not because of an alarm. I will limit my time each day and give myself a login limit, maybe once in the morning and evening and for up to 1-hour max. I will remove the apps from the front of my phone display, as I’ve already done, so it is not the first thing I see when I look down and I will continue to put my personal tasks on top of my social apps every day. And as I mentioned before I will remember to take a much-needed break from the world ever so often to spend my mental energy more with myself and my family.
How do you feel social media impacts your life? Share and comment below!