How can Social Media Seriously Affect your Life ?
December 13, 2018
In the world we live in, social media can take a lot of our time, energy, and focus; possibly too much. This can lead to a very serious question: would you consider yourself an social media addict?
At the end of May 2018, I chose to temporarily delete all my social media accounts. You name the network, I probably had an account. I intended to only quit until the end of summer when it was back to school season. Now it is December of 2018 and my accounts had been deleted since September.
It is no lie that these social networks have become more advanced as time goes on. However, it could be so advanced that these networks become addicting on purpose.
According to Jonathan Kay, an chief operating officer of Apptopia (a mobile app that deals with app analytics and business feedback for customers), most of these apps try to attract our attention through their content. For example, on networks like Instagram or Twitter, you follow accounts of your choice. Cable television, however, chooses what content they emit without putting as much as a thought into consideration of the public’s feedback, as stated on Business Insider between an interview with Kay.
Another way networks pull us in is through their notifications. Look at it this way, we share, comment, “heart,” and create content expecting the same of others. So when someone gives those shares, comments, “hearts” and content back, we can not help but feel appreciated, accepted, and happy. If you give this enough thought, you can see it as a cycle.
This can lead to time that you could spend with your friends or your own personal hobbies wasted on a screen which does not really give you any real benefit. Yes, you could argue that seeing a post on Instagram could leave you inspired or motivated towards a goal you have, but that same motivation that could potentially influence you could quickly fade as life goes on and you develop an interest in new things. If anything, social media can leave you to be unsatisfied with your current life.
One study shows participants who used Facebook are susceptible to a decrease in life satisfaction. Five times a day these participants were texted with questions which asked about their current mood, how much social interaction they had recently, and how much time they spent on Facebook. The result was the more time the participants spent on the network, the less happiness and life
satisfaction they expressed.
After reading all this, you might be thinking “I need to quit social media completely!” While this might be good for some, you do not have to completely get rid of it. You can get out of the time consuming cycle and still have part of your life on social media. The key is taking breaks from time to time.
Having a usage detox of all networks can have many benefits. For one, it could help prioritize what matters to you if social media always had a top spot. Knowing more of what is going on in your reality is another benefit, as you could possibly learn something new on other aspects of your life, such as family, school/work, and friends.
How much you can benefit from a social media usage detox primarily depend on how long and often you take your detoxes. For instance, you could take three days to one week of a break every month. This could serve as a monthly check to quickly make sure your life is how you want it. Another common course of action can also be one month to three months (could be up to six months if you choose) every year. Compared to the monthly detox, the yearly one really gives you more insight and clarity than the other detox mentioned ever could.
From personal experience, taking six months or more off of social media for your first break can change how you live in one of the best ways. I found it had helped me to reconnect and strengthen bonds with friends, family, and general life. Finding and spending time in hobbies like reading, writing, and even cooking helped me realize there is more to life than what is happening on a profile.
Nevertheless, social media is not completely bad. Even though it can be used for promotion of celebrities, companies, etc., it could promote powerful messages and movements to improve our world. Numerous accounts across all social media platforms are dedicated to create conversation and bring awareness to topics such as gun control, the LGBTQ+ community, domestic and sexual abuse, and countless others.
As time goes on, it seems social media controls more and more of our lives. But that itself should not be our reality. Social media does enhance our day to day routine and can capture experiences at which we could look back at and laugh. However, despite these joyful moments, social media companies do not create or maintain our authentic connections to the people we love, our life, or our dreams. We should take back the part of our life that was once controlled by social media and take control ourselves. After all, life is too short to live by a post.