Social media platforms are some of the greatest inventions of our generation. Just think, only a decade ago people had to communicate with each other with speech and conversation through the phone or in person -- so awkward! We live in a digital world; our generation has seen the fastest change in the way we interact than any other generation before us.
We are the guinea pigs of social media. We are the ones that had disgusting screen names for our AIM profiles, a top 8 on MySpace that we probably never talk to, and now Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become vital parts of our day to "connect" with other people. It sounds great and all, but I have come to hate social media and I'm going to argue my case as to why you should too. Call me old-fashioned, but social media will prove detrimental in the long run.
It’s fun; we all know that. Who doesn't love wasting precious hours of their day looking at what other people are doing and staying in the know with others? Isn't that what we always wanted to do when we were in grade school? To always stay in the know and never feel left out, right? Well that is exactly the psychological comfort that social media provides, that we were yearning for at such a young age.
Social media is social; it depends on other people’s influence on your life and your influence on their lives. That is what scares me and that is what should scare you, it is based on others rather than yourself. What it is essentially doing is turning us all into robots that are constantly worrying about others rather than ourselves.
Recently I shut down my Instagram account because I couldn't stand checking it over 50 times a day to see the same photos of some terribly expired Jewish girls, selfies or Jersey girls, food and someone pretending they own a Ferrari when they don't even know what Italian leather feels like. By doing this I have realized how much better my day is without it and has made me understand that life is better off without it and here is why:
A Dark Obsession
Let’s go over some numbers first: recent studies have shown that on average people check their Facebook 14 times a day. The same study also said that we spend 8 hours a month on Facebook on average. If you are reading this right now you are most likely sitting on Facebook all day long and checking it every 5 minutes.
Studies have also shown that Facebook and Twitter are more addictive than smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. For as long as I can remember, those two addictions next to cocaine were some of the most severe addictions humanity had to deal with. It’s what f*cked up Lindsay Lohan.
The addiction is real. We as a generation sit on these three platforms all day long. Constantly checking what is going on in the world and sharing what is going on in our world. It’s the interaction we are obsessed with. We desire to see what is happening outside of us because we are nosy -- plain and simple.
The desire has become too easy to appease because each of these things are just a click away. When we all had AOL dial to get to our buddy list, it took an arm and a leg, just to be foiled because our mothers were on the phone. Now within 2 seconds, we can see everything that is going on.
It’s as if we itch for this. Other studies done on social media have found that people were unable to voluntarily avoid their gadgets for one full day to check on their social media. The University of Maryland research described students’ thoughts in vivid detail, in which they admit to cravings, anxiety attacks and depression when forced to abstain from using media.
What this does is waste our time, it’s plain and simple. Our time is valuable at our current ages, and to waste it on something that has absolutely no benefit to our lives in the long term will only hurt us rather than help us. Think about it, how much do you really gain from going on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? I'm pretty sure it’s not much.
The Procrastination Effect
According to ProCon.org, in the month of July 2012 alone, Americans spent 74 billion minutes on social media via computer, 40.8 billion via apps and 5.7 billion via mobile web browser; that’s a total of over 2 billion cumulative hours Americans spent in a single month on these social media platforms. That’s over 228,000 years worth of time spent ‘liking,’ tweeting and commenting within a single month — and that’s only in America!
We as a society have become procrastinators, we look for any possible excuse to take time off from what we actually need to get done and waste our time on something that has no relevance. Think about how many times you have sat there and had a task you had to do, but instead wasted hours checking the same feed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Think about how much of an idiot you feel like afterwards when you have allowed that to happen.
What social media brings us is a recess, just like we all had in grade school. Sure it’s fun and everyone wants to be a part of it all day long, but just like back then, there has to be some sort of a limitation. Currently that limit is gone and we constantly spend hours of our precious time on something that is artificially created by people who are fake.
I'm an old-fashioned type of guy, to me the definition of interaction is not liking a photo or retweeting a tweet. Instead it’s actually talking with someone face to face or over the phone. Interaction is played off your senses and how you communicate with someone, not how pathetic you look trying to make yourself cooler than you really are on the internet. In our modern day world, interaction is long gone. We communicate with others through text, photos or any other forms of getting a message across, like posting a quote.
Interacting on the internet is not real interaction, it’s a made-up interaction. Anyone can be whoever they want to be because they can make other perceive themselves as someone else through the course of duping. No one is who they say they are, their life is a façade of what they think others want to see. That’s not real interaction. Real interaction is when you use your senses to communicate -- and on the internet you can't really do that, just ask Manti Teo.
Worrying What Others Are Doing
Another hurtful aspect of social is the constant preoccupation about what others are doing. It’s not about what you are doing, but rather what everyone in your feed is doing -- and that's why we get the urge to be on there all day. We have become nosy beings that want to know everything about everyone’s lives.
Social media has created an insecurity unlike any other insecurity in the past. It has created the concept of FOMO, the fear of missing out, and we constantly look at what other people are doing to make sure that we are having the same amount of fun and joy in our lives. The issue is when people are too focused on what others are doing, they forget about what they are doing and what they have to do.
They get sucked into a contest to see who can look happiest the best, unfortunately it’s a contest that never really has a true winner. No one is as happy as they look like in their uploads, statuses and tweets. They are only showing you the 10% of their lives. And other people see how great this life appears to be and start worrying about why their lives are not as good.
In life you should only be worried about what you are doing and mind your own business. That is something that we have forgotten. Caring about what others are doing and what other people think is a pedestrian trap to fall into.
Approval Seeking Behavior
"Friends" and "followers" have basically become the judges of your life because you have allowed them to be. You have let their likes and retweets make you feel like you are doing something right in your life, and the more you get from them, the more they appease you and make you feel good about yourself.
On the contrary when you don't get as many likes as you would have hoped, you think something is wrong with you. It is as if our schoolyard behavior of popularity contests has carried over into our adult lives and it is a sad thing to see. Approval seeking behavior is what stems from this. It is people constantly doing things so that they look better in the eyes of others. What we have done is let others dictate our lives rather then live them the way we actually want to.
It’s All One Big Blur
To close out of this anti-social media article, think about what you remember from actually using social media. Is there any one or two great memorable moments that you can pin down and say were so great? No chance, when you look back at it it’s all just one big blur and a mash of information that you have been fed like a robot. Realize what is important in life and understand that social media is not going to help your personal life in any way, shape or form.
Preston Waters | Elite.