Unsocial Media: Addiction

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Texting, e-mail, the number of likes we collect, the ding, the buzz or the flash of our phones that tells us “You’ve got mail,” feels amazing.

We associate this feeling with, “ooh, something for me” with getting a text or e-mail or the like.

Some people have formed neural connections that drive them to carry out phones in their hands at all the times, often looking down and hitting refresh a few times, even though nothing has come in.

According to the Statistics Portal, as of 2016, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 118 minutes per day, up from 109 daily minutes in the previous year.

On average people spent almost 2 hours per day on social media worldwide.

It is said that if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you crave for is a drink, you might be an alcoholic.

If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is check your phone to read e-mail or scan through your social media before you even get out of bed, you might be addicted.

Craving a hit of chemical feel good, we repeat the behaviours that we know can produce that hit.

In the case of alcohol or gambling, we are aware of it. In the case of our love of our devices and social, we are less aware of the addictive qualities.

If your phone is constantly about to die, then maybe it’s not the phone that has a problem.

If you happiness levels are determined by the number of followers you have, likes and re-tweets you have on your updates, then may be you are addicted.

If you get upset because someone un-friended or un-followed you, then you may have a problem.

In the era before social media, people coped with stress and loneliness by being addicted to scotch or smoked pot, or gambling.

Today people are addicted to social media as a way of getting some sense of personal worthiness.

Just ask yourself. Will you be able to spend the whole weekend without checking Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform?

If your answer is no, or a doubtful yes, then you might want to analyse whether or not you are addicted to social media.

A person gets withdrawal symptoms and starts to sulk when their phones battery is flat and they don’t have a charger around. The fact that they don’t have a charger around is a crisis to them, not necessarily because someone may want to contact them, but because of fear of missing out on the social platform.

Trending on social media is a national sport, to an extent that people/organisations get paid to get events to trend, some even have “war rooms” tasked with getting certain information to trend.

A person would rather forget his trousers at home than forget his phone for the day.

People consume television shows with social media. One without the other is incomplete.

People walk or drive with their faces buried on small screen devices, they eat while checking out their social media feeds, some take pictures of the food they are eating and post them, they are in meetings with their phones, they are in the restrooms with their phones.

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Facebook may make it seem like we are more connected, but it is severely weakening those interpersonal connections of people around you. Social media has created an illusion of connectivity.

So, what is the big solution?

Lower your smartphone usage and take a more long-term view on life.

Don’t keep your phone on your desk in a meeting, face-up or face-down.

No cellphone in meetings or dinner table.

Charge it in your living room, not by your bed while you sleep at night.

Engage with the people around you, don’t sit there texting your friends.

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People are good. They are funny and nice and sweet, [well, not the bad ones] but you will never know until you personally interact with some in front of you. without your phone.

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