The Dark Side of Social Media; A Modern Day Addiction
Stop listening to your fans. “Your enemies know information your friends won’t tell you.”
I’ve heard a lot of this lately… “I’m at 15,000 followers, why would I do anything different?!”, “I just got 500 likes on one post, amazing!”, or a personal favourite; “We’re doing a give away at 20,000 followers, like, share, comment, slay your first born to be entered!”. Maybe we’re over thinking it, and that’s not a good thing. “Fans” on social media networks aren’t necessarily real relationships. Sure some are, but most are superficial social passings by, meaningless in the
When validation has gone too far
I heard a story of high school students posting on Instagram and if they don’t receive over a certain amount of likes within the first 15 minutes they delete it and try again later.
Could you imagine testing your creative in real time, then when not performing you pull it immediately? Are these students getting feedback and acting upon in hyper-speed without even knowing it?
I instantly said, “We should be doing that with clients!”
Or should we?
The more connected you are the less connected you actually are.
A recent study this time from Harvard confirmed what was reported a couple years ago. The more time you spend on Facebook the worse you feel. Seeing everyone’s vacation photos, freshly cooked feasts, new toys, all makes us a little more depressed in our own little worlds. The constant race to post a better picture, to get more likes, to attract a bigger audience. For what?
What is your end goal? Surely it can’t be to have the most followers in the world. So why do you do it? Could it be the shot of dopamine you get every time you receive a notification on your phone? It’s comparable to crack cocaine. Always a phone in hand, on the table while eating, it’s ruining your relationships. No one needs to be connected that much.
The answer isn’t to get rid of your smartphone completely
I don’t agree with teachers who run classrooms without phones, it’s inevitable we’re going to use technology in everything we do, we now need to teach people how to do it properly. Start practicing not bringing your phone out while in meetings or with others. Try working for an hour or two without your phone. If you can take it, turn it off for a weekend, or even a day. I bet your family will love you for it!
The more you can live with this all powerful device in your pocket without it running your life, the happier you will be.
Turn off notifications. I can’t say this enough. Turn your ringer on for phone calls, turn everything else off. Why? Because you don’t need to live your life at the will of every little notification from Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Email, text messages, iMessages, What’s app and what ever else you get notifications from.
“But wait, what if there’s an emergency at work!?!?” They will call won’t they? You don’t want to create a system where you have to be there ALL the time.
There’s no such thing as an emergency email or text message, people CALL when it’s an emergency.
Being connected 24/7 can give you advantages of being fast to get things, deals, promotions, etc. But there is a very detrimental part of social media that’s changing your brain without you even knowing it. Whatever you put into your brain over and over is what you’ll get out of your brain. Reading headlines on Facebook and watching Instagram story’s isn’t a good way to educate yourself.
You probably suffer from fear of missing out (FOMO)
Think about all the time you spend scrolling through people’s timelines, liking photos, making comments, for what? What’s your end goal? The scary part is you’re creating your own little filter bubble. A bubble of knowledge that feels good and comfortable to you. Information you almost always agree with, people that really get you. The problem is we need to hear points of view that are counter to what we believe to better form our own opinions. If you never have anyone legitimately challenge you on a topic, you will assume you are the authority on that topic. That’s very dangerous.
It’s the Facebook generation of under educated opinions coming from keyboard warriors. It’s the perfect storm.
The Filter Bubble
A video I’ve been showing in class for a couple years and for some reason we always have a long discussion about “the filter bubble”. We need to hear stories that make us uncomfortable, we need to see evidence that proves us wrong. Having the ability to change your mind on a topic is a precious gift I feel we’ve forgotten to appreciate.
The next time you’re out with your loved ones or at a meeting with business folks, try to leave your phone in your pocket. Try to immerse yourself in the other persons every word, become a better listener, learn to be okay with differing opinions than your won. Be careful how much “social media” you take it. It’s an addiction of scary proportions. We know about alcohol, drugs, gambling and the negative side effects, it’s time we started looking at our social media habits the same.
No, you can’t multitask
Another symptom of this ultra-connected world, you’re assumed to be one several different social media platforms all at once, plus your work work, maybe some research and (insert useless scrolling the internet site). Why does having a bunch of windows open signify were busy?
I used to think I could could multitask, I was very wrong. I love the book The One Thing on this topic. Yes you think you can multitask but what you’re really doing is making it more difficult for your brain to work on the task at hand. Doing a thousand things all at once, but not really doing anything that matters.
Anytime you try to do multiple things at once you actually do them worse than if you just focused on them one at a time until one task was done then move one. It’s the “busy” generation. We have to have so many tabs open on our laptops just to convince ourselves that we’re busy enough. This needs to stop.
I almost lost a relationship to my other girlfriend (my laptop)
My girlfriend used to come over at night to hangout. There glowing over the low dim light of the television was my laptop constantly updating me as to what the world was up to via Hootsuite. I told myself I had to be connected at all times. If I wasn’t, someone else would be, I knew I could be more connected than anyone else, I loved talking to people and social media was just natural.
My girlfriend left at one point. About 5 years ago to live in Victoria. I literally ignored her away. I choose social media over her one too many times. It was horrible, I wasn’t being realistic with how I was spending my time. I lied to myself a lot in those days. A sign of a true addict. The more I got into it though, the more I learned. Never keeping my learning to one platform, books, blogs, podcasts, you name it. What I found was the best people, the people I looked up to, had plenty of free time (to enjoy those nights with their significant other).
You don’t always need to be connected
My girlfriend moved home just under a year later. A bunch of long distance charges later she agreed to take in this recovering social media-holic. When she moved back I was never the same. Family would always come first. People would always come before the Instagram handle, it was never about the social media, it was about the people. I loved the people.
You can love people without being connected 24/7. I saw Kyle Gibson post about taking a “phone vacation” where he didn’t check his phone for two whole days! What an amazing example he’s setting. I’m going to try that.
If people expect you to “always be on” it’s not healthy. You don’t need to post all the time, you need to post enough to make you happy. That’s probably not 20 times a day.
Stop over thinking it. You should share something but don’t feel you need to.