This blog begins with a series of questions typically used to assess individuals level of obsession with social media. Please take a minute to answer them, it’ll give you some insight into whether you potential have an addiction to social media.
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?
According to psychologists Mark Griffiths and Daria Kuss, if the answer to all six of the questions is “yes,” then you may have or be developing an addiction to using social media. In my humble opinion, if you have answered “yes” to at least four of those questions, it’s time to cut back on your social media use. You don’t need to wait until it gets out of control before taking action.
In recent years, there has been an increase in articles published on the negative impact of social media, psychologists have concerns about its impact on mental health. It has been linked to increased anxiety and depression. Although there is debate surrounding the amount of scientific evidence that supports these claims, it is still a cause for concern.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have noticed that I have been absent/ less frequent for a while. In all honesty, I decided to have a social media cleanse because I found myself spending time on it when I had far more important work to do. At the time, I was extremely busy with my dissertation but would somehow find time to flick through pictures and tweets. It was starting to affect my productivity so I decided to go cold turkey and delete the apps.
My initial thoughts were that having no Instagram or Twitter would automatically help me become far more productive but I soon found out that are many other ways to distract oneself. If you’ve ever written a dissertation, you’ll understand how difficult and stressful the process can be, any distraction is welcomed when you’re feeling like no progress is being made. Without digressing too much from today’s topic, simply deleting your social media doesn’t fix the problems of unproductivity if it is fulled by deeper issues for example lack of focus and discipline.
Getting rid or reducing your time on social media if you want to focus on a set task is a good start, the fact is time flies when you’re on those apps a lot quicker than when you’re doing something tangible. Try reading an academic article for 10 minutes and compare it with the experience of being on twitter for 10 minutes which one feels longer?
As a blogger, I used to justify my obsessive use of social media under the banner of “building an audience” “having a social media presence” …. although it is important for me to do those things, I realized a lot of my time was actually used in consuming unnecessary information that definitely wasn’t contributing to the things I claimed I was using my social media for.
I was inadvertently spending more time admiring others than working on my own projects. Something that I had been conscious about in the past.
Social media is supposed to be a marketing tool but a lot of time we forget to use it as such. A builder would never carry a hammer around the whole day unless he needed it. He or she might have it stored somewhere, where it’s easily accessible but the hammer is only used when it’s required. For an average person that may not have a blog, you probably won’t use or see social media as a tool but I think viewing it as a tool makes you more aware of the power you have to direct how you use it. There might be many reasons why you use social media, for example, keeping tabs on others 🤫 / staying in touch with friends… establish your reasons and limit your activities to the tasks you intend to use it for.
By consciously setting mental reminders of what you are aiming to do with whatever platform you chose to use, you can avoid the trap of endless discovery of attention-grabbing information that you never intended to consume. This is a step that I have chosen to follow on a daily basis to monitor and control my use of social media.
It is assumed that the things posted on social media are a total reflection of everything that occurs in our lives. Contrary to popular belief, there is life beyond social media, because you see a friend posting happy pictures does not mean they are ok, so check up on them regardless. It’s crazy how lazy a lot of us have become with friendships, we limit our interactions to sharing funny videos and liking each other pictures, I say “us” because I am guilty of this too. Instead of meeting up with our friends we spend time liking pictures of events they went to which we probably should’ve been there to experience.
Our lives are far too dynamic for social media to capture in its entirety, this is why it’s important to take what people post with a pinch of salt. A lot of people find themselves comparing their lives with others they see on social media not realising that what people choose to protray is only a small fraction of who they are.
My time away from social media thought me to be more conscious and actively monitor the impact it has on my well being. I found that I was far more alert and present in conversations with my friends because my attention was not divided. I now understand how frustrating it can be to have a conversation with someone who far more engaged with what’s on their phone than with you. It’s a terrible habit that most of us have become accustomed to.
All in all, I really enjoyed my social media clense and was in no hurry to reinstall the apps after I submitted my dissertation. I aim to continue to limit my use of social media and advise that you do the same.
If you liked this post, remember to share this post on social media lol once you’ve done that switch off your phone 🙈😘
More on the adverse impact of social media below