Social Media: Entertainment or Addiction?

It has come to my attention that I am currently living in a society that has been brain-hacked by advertising. Advertising that is sometimes so subtle that you’re hardly aware and other times down-right rude. That moment is when I’m in the zone to music that is speaking to my soul and then I hear

“If you would like thirty minutes of ad free listening then listen to this ad. That’s right, in order to not hear more ads, for only thirty minutes, you must listen to an ad first.”

As I right this, I have just realized saving $.99 a month has not worth it.

Not only are we being marketed to constantly, we ourselves are constantly marketing. Marketing to our friends, family members, brands, even strangers. If we have someone’s attention we are telling them

  • What we’re doing

  • Why it should be important to them (whether it’s important to them or not)

  • How they can find out more and support

Whether the information, idea, or message is important, positive, helpful, or factual, it doesn’t matter. If it reaches enough people, it now becomes most popular. Most popular today has become most valuable, even if there's no actual value within it. Everyone’s personal life and ideas is desired information, and that information is one click away from any person or company on this planet.

Social Media: Entertainment or Addiction

I consider myself not to be a social media addict. I believe this because I constantly assess how I feel, and one thing that has held true since 2011 when I first opened my Facebook account is I don’t like the way social media makes me feel. Sometimes it motivates me and entertains my ideas about life, but many times I feel nothing with a hint of unfulfillment. The thoughts that run through my head are as follows:

Glad that’s over.
Finally pulled myself away.
Oh my goodness look at the time!
What was I doing again?
I need a vacation.

My thoughts are fragmented. I’m filled with anxiety, relief, a little dehydration, exhaustion, and shame. I make sure that the people I follow are positive and valuable to my life, so why would I be feeling so bad? I believed I felt bad because I wasn’t able to control myself and do the things that I actually wanted to do with my time: wash dishes, activities with my son, work on my latest project, call a family member back. Then I learned it wasn’t actually all my fault.

Social Media: The Research

Social media was designed to be addictive.

The time delay when you first get on (Intentional)
The never-ending timeline (Intentional)
Likes, comments, ability to share (Intentional)
Discovery (Intentional)
Algorithms to change how we’re viewed and WHAT we view (Intentional)
Live video being more popular (Intentional)
Buzzing for notifications (Intentional)

This is by no means an exhaustive list of how social media is designed to create addicts out of its users.

As humans, we are wired to work a certain way. Since social media knows how we’re intrinsically wired, and continues to learn as we are constantly sending feedback by using the apps, they have the ability to direct our attention and occupy our time how they feel is best for them, not for what is best for us as individuals or as a society.

We believe we are aimlessly scrolling keeping up with friends, brands and family around the globe, not realizing we’re absorbing ideas about them that may or may not be true, purely for entertainment, as it shapes our beliefs about ourselves and others.

Social Media: Opposers vs. Research

Opposers may argue that this marketing isn’t very impactful on how we conduct our daily lives even though it’s been researched and proven. (For some reason people today have forgotten that research and testing are the only way to prove something and everything else is a belief.)

Here are links to research and resources on Social Media and its Effects.

Even if you don’t want to believe that social media makes you more self-conscious, determines what kind of career you choose or alters how you treat a certain group of people, what about the time it takes away from reality?

Social Media: It’s Effects on What’s in Front of You

Every day someone is getting into an accident due distractions of cell phones, hence why they’ve implemented hands-free driving law in Georgia starting July 1, 2018. Marriages are being ruined due to the secrets in dm’s. Subpar employees are created everyday from their inability to enter a state of flow to learn and grow as a professional because they are distracted.

No one can deny that it takes you away from whatever’s right in front of you. It takes us away from a conversation, subtle differences in our environment, time with our children, at dinner, at events, in showers. There’s no end.

The most intrusive realization is the  time it takes us away from ourselves. The second we are about to discover who we are or what we can have if we live through the moment of discomfort, we rather drag ourselves into our phones in fear to feel the temporary high it delivers every time. So how does this effect who we are?

Social Media: It’s Effects on Our Mental & Emotional Selves

If you have a message, brand, business, or a pulse, you are told that in order reach and “impact” tons of people you must post on social platforms a certain amount of times, during a certain time frame, engage, and deliver the hair of your first-born from the first haircut.

These among other known and unknown protocols must be done to remain relevant. Everyone has agreed to these protocols and is running around like little human computers trying to get in the game or stay in the game. People are barely hanging on yet no one has asked, does this feel right with me? Does filing up people’s inbox with emails everyday feel healthy? Does trying to get someone’s attention by any means necessary feel empowering? Is what I have to share only as good as people say it is? Do I need to constantly be on someone’s mind to be considered important and relevant?

We are being conditioned to deliver what we believe people want to see in order to accepted, successful, and lovable despite how true it is. This facade makes it difficult for us to embrace the reality of our circumstance and who we actually are because our reality is strongly connected to the collective opinion of others.

An Authentic Life

The time has come for all of us to decide what kind of life we want to live. Do we want to spend it entertaining and be entertained by people who don't really know or do we want to discover what it’s like to conquer our biggest fears,  learn to love ourselves completely without shame, or taking risk on things that appear crazy but feels like pure joy? Do we care to have a life that is our own?

I do. 
I know you do too.

Feel free,