Social media is more like ‘a second world’ to us. Though this is virtual, still it’s an inseparable part of our lives. Since social media has set foot on, ease of communication have raised significantly. Even till date, I have fresh memories of the days when ‘Orkut’ was introduced. Excitement around this new platform was talk of the town. From there on, we have travelled miles in a brief span of time. As of today, there is a dire need for society to be aware of ‘social media addiction facts’.
Rise of social media
The foremost social networking site was classmate in 1995. It was then followed by 6-Degrees, My space, Orkut etc. Yet, the social media platform that caused quite a stir through out world is Facebook. To this day, Facebook comprises of nearly 1.69 billion users.
Later on other sites for instance Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp , Linked in, Reddit, Tumbler, Google plus, Snapchat, Tinder etc. also joined this rally. One of the newest platform which grew drastically is Tik-Tok.
So far, there are around 200+ social networking sites. Regardless of age, gender and socioeconomic status now everyone holds a social media account.
Why social media is so popular?
1. Cheap mobile and internet –
Gone are the days when computer and WiFi were imperative to access internet. These days, smart phones and cheap mobile data are in every nook and cranny. These grant access to ‘digital world’, at your finger tips.
2. Communication –
By very nature, human beings are social. We prefer to stay connected with people whom we know. Further, we love to explore and make new contacts. Social media is the best tool for swift communication. Beautiful part is you can personally contact any damn person, even beyond borders.
Lately, I came across something called ‘FOMO’, i.e. ‘fear of missing out’. Every body wishes to go along with latest trend. No one ever wants to feel left out. Therefore people in general get associated with social media culture.
4. Approval –
Whether we are aware or not , but as human beings we all constantly seek approval from others. Somehow we feel more satisfied with ourselves when people validate us. Social media serves as a perfect channel for this.
5. Feedback –
No matter how distinct we are, still we have an inherent nature. We are immensely fond of ourselves. Which is why, when someone complements us, it makes our day. Social media has features namely – like, comment, share, follow, emoji reactions etc. for feedback.
Did you ever wonder why there is no ‘unlike button’ or no ‘bad emoji reaction’ on Facebook? Well, positive feedbacks compel us to visit a site again and again.
It is relatable to ‘positive reinforcement experiment’ of lab mouse. If you feed lab mouse with food when it performs a desirable action, then it gets tutored to do that activity. The comparison may seem awkward, but that is the way our brain functions.
6. Information –
Informations traverse at lightning speed through social media. So, you just have to click and then updates are on your screen. Nonetheless, we need to be careful about misinformations as well. For example the way myths around coronavirus has spread, is dreadful.
Over social media we can share our opinion with thousands of people. This is also one of the contributor to social media addiction facts.
Positive and negative aspects of social media
Positive aspect :
Other than sharing opinion and information, people use it to grow their passion and to boost creativity. Additionally, multiple e-commerce websites are using it universally, to market their products.
Prior to social media, people used to count entirely on mainstream media for news. But at present, news delivery has evolved to be more unbiased and transparent, thanks to social networking.
Negative aspect :
In general, people are more expressive against you in social media. However, the same people when meet you in person are gentle to you. That is why cyber bullying and trolling on social networking site is rampant. Besides, social media has led to isolation, mental illness and suicide too.
Next big issue is stealing of data. You must have heard about ‘Cambridge Analytica’. How it collaborated with Facebook to manipulate voters, by using their personal data. Previously also Facebook has actualised, such off the record experiments. Thereby, your personal life is not private anymore.
Many a times, after seeing a flawless picture of someone, I wished my life to be that way. I even compared my unedited life with that perfectly filtered and edited pic. This led to dissatisfaction and disappointment.
But, the fact is, no one wants to showcase ugly side of their life. Hence, always keep it in mind that behind those glittery perfect faces, there lies some distressing stories.
How to avoid social media addiction?
We all are closely linked to social media. At some point, we have felt that compelling desire to peep into it every now and then. Trouble starts, when we value social media more than our real life.
When it hampers our eating, sleeping habits and we spend our whole day planning around what to post/check. It then lowers our study and work efficiency.
If you have hit this point then you should seriously pay attention to social media addiction facts. Below are some practices to avoid this.
1. Notifications –
If your social media notification is on, then do yourself a favour by switching it off. It is the foremost step of the ladder.
2. Log out –
When you are constantly logged in, you are tempted to sneak into your social account. Thus, log out or even better course of action is to delete the app. If each time you have to log in through browser, then you will use it less frequently.
3. Accessibility –
If you are trying to focus on something cardinal, social media always distracts you. Hence, what I usually do is I keep my phone remote to me. So that, it is least accessible and out of my field of vision as well.
4. Reduce friends –
More the number of people you follow or you are friend with in social media, greater is the engagement. So cut down on your friends, especially whom you scarcely know. This reduces time burnt out on social networking sites.
5. Be busy –
The deeper you are into your work, more you are detached from social media. But sometimes huge pile of work, reverts us back to this seemingly entertaining world. There fore, set a goal and split it into smaller chunks. Complete a chunk at once, without attending to any social site.
6. Time break –
Some times we wake up with social media notification and keep on scrolling for hours. To avoid killing time in such way, organise your day properly. Fix a particular time when you solely focus on work, study etc. Deliberately keep yourself away from social media during this.
7. Creative work –
Instead of engaging in social media, devote yourself to some constructive and creative work. Spend your time developing a hobby like painting, crafting, knitting etc. that you truly cherish.
8. Deactivate –
In some cases social media makes life miserable by extremely disrupting daily activities. In this scenario better to deactivate your account and take a break.
I feel myself lucky to be part of both pre and post social media culture. The development is drastic. Plus, it is not yet the end point. Internet is going to get faster in future. Consequently distractions are going to grow stronger as well.
It is entirely our choice to control social media use or get controlled by it.
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