Say what? I must be joking, right? Wrong. I’m not joking at all. If it’s any consolation, I’m addicted too. Just don’t let my mom know I said that. You know you’re addicted to social media when:
- You’re on a social media platform (Facebook, Pinterest, twitter) for more than four hours each day.
- You can’t stop thinking about that blue bird whistling your name, or that picture that would be good for your profile picture
- You’d rather tweet or post or repin rather than talk with other people.
- You’re reading this post!
It would also be interesting to note that social media addiction is as powerful as or even more powerful than alcohol and nicotine addiction. If you think that this is not true, try going without a tweet or a poke for twenty four hours. Many people cannot. Why? Is your virtual persona so interesting that you can’t live your real life?
Social media can be harmful to your general well being and you may not even realize it. Your job might suffer or your grades might drop because of that 140 characters tweet. Politicians have been voted out of office for playing Farmville (in Bulgaria) while others have lost their jobs due to their love for status updates.
In fact, many people cannot endure twenty four hours without a cell phone or other means of connecting to the internet. If this is not addiction then tell me what is! Life has been reduced to a series of posts, comments, shares, tweets and likes. No one appreciates nature anymore. No one can go without a connection to their virtual extensions for more than a few minutes or hours!
Spending a lot of time on social media will eventually drown out any other elements of your life. The only news that you will be listening to will be news spread on twitter or Facebook. Your opinions will be shaped by what others are saying and not on what you really think. The potential of using social media as a manipulative tool is too high for governments and businesses to have ignored it. It sounds a bit on the crazy side, but didn’t social media put Obama in the white house? If it did, what makes you so sure that you won’t think the way someone else wants you to think and react if all your time is spent behind a computer or on a phone?
Social media, if not consumed in healthy quantities, will definitely prove to be more dangerous than a nicotine or booze problem. It can interfere with a true democratic process (or enhance it, depends on how you look at it) and it can ruin your life by preventing you from enjoying the blessings that God has given us.
The way forward
Time should be spent incommunicado. Go to the rural areas and stay with your grandparents for some time (I should do that). Take walks without earphones plugging your ears (streaming no doubt) and admire God’s creation. Do this and you’ll find that your brain will be opening up to new thoughts and ideas that would have never occurred to you had you spent your time behind the computer.
We need to take back control of our lives before time runs out. It is true that social media has raised awareness and helped us improve our quality of life (you’re probably reading this thanks to social media anyway). However, just how much should we allow it to shape our thoughts and opinions? Social media has done us a lot of good, but we should not rely on it too much.
It should not be allowed to take control of our will and conscience. That would be worse than drug addiction. Plus it would really suck!