Addiction can be a scary word sometimes depending on the source. Most people think of drugs or alcohol when they think of addiction. But the kind of addiction I’m talking about is addiction to social media. Most people think, “It’s not that bad, right? They Just like to be on their computer a lot. ” People think it makes them more social because they are always talking to someone or playing games with someone. Addiction to social media, like drugs or alcohol, can be very damaging to a person.
Let’s start off with some definitions, Addiction is the continued repetition of a ehavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors. Social Media are forms of electronic communication (such as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos). Social media addiction usually refers to someone spending way too much time using Twitter, Facebook and other types of social media.
They use it so much that it interferes with the other aspects of your daily life (Walker). “(… ) a social etworking addict could be considered someone with a compulsion to use social media to excess–constantly checking Facebook status updates or “stalking” people’s profiles on Facebook, for example, for hours on end” (Walker). She says it is hard to tell when a fondness for this activity turns into you being dependent on it and becomes a damaging habit or addiction (Walker). Researchers at Chicago University concluded that social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes and booze following an experiment in which they recorded the cravings of several hundred people for several weeks. Media cravings ranked ahead of cravings for cigarettes and alcohol (Walker). How you know if you are addicted: “1 . Your cell phone becomes your number one accessory. If it’s attached to your hip 2417 and you wish it was waterproof and in the shower with you (… 2. If you send a Tweet to someone and they don’t @reply to you within six hours and you become anxious (… ) 3. If your cell phone is with you at the dining table and everyone is texting while they’re eating and no one is saying a word (… ) 4. If you post a cute photo on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or other photo-sharing sites with no one liking t or sharing it, however you still keep checking every few minutes or hour (… ) 5.
If you stare at your Twitter followers and the count goes down and it upsets you, you could be suffering from Social Media Anxiety Disorder (SMAD)” (Spira). Julie Spira, author of The Rules of Netiquette, talks about something she likes to call “Social Media Anxiety Disorder” which is simply addiction to social media. (Spira) “While the need to connect and engage is so powerful and instant, we often have expectations that the recipient has immediately seen our digital correspondence” (Spira).
Most people who are addicted assume that if someone doesn’t respond to their email, tweet or Facebook post immediately that they are either being ignored or they are mad at them, when in most cases, it is Just that the other person is busy at the moment (Spira). The thing that makes social media so addicting is the social validation (Rutledge). “Facebook like is a social signal. It affirms our existence the same way that odding at you on the sidewalk does” (Rutledge). The tear ot missing out someone n (FOMO) also makes it addicting because you always want to know what is going on so ou don’t want to miss out.
Another thing is it has an emotional attraction. Also you have a perceived value. You also have control over what you share and what you do not. So that makes people like it a lot is they think they have all this control over everything. It also can increase your self-esteem (Rutledge). “It is not surprising that people might experience an increase in self-esteem after having their social connections (and support) reaffirmed. Social connections are a valuable asset. That’s why we call it social capital” (Rutledge). There are some pros to the addiction to social media.
First of all, it is about having a passion to chase anything you think is worth it, you have chances of being in the spotlight, you always feel like you are connected to someone who you can share everything with, you have access to anything and everything happening around you, it is a rapid way of spreading any cause, emergency alert or national threat, the services are mostly free, it is the easiest way to kill time, you can follow people from around the world and it is the new ‘language of the hour’ (All Pro’s N Con’s). There are some struggles of being addicted to social media that Rega Jha, Buzzfeed staff member, talks about.
Your friends will sometimes refer to you by your Instagram or Twitter username, you start planning your throwback Thursday pictures over a week in advance Just to make sure you have one, you ‘respect’ the social web code of conduct, you plan your activities based on the Instagram photos you will get out of it, you secretly delete your posts if they do not get a lot of likes, you battery being almost dead is a terrifying sight for you, your friends start to worry if you have posted anything in a while, you carry around a portable charger for your phone, you have a hard time falling asleep because of how ften you check your phone, you get excited to see all your notifications when you wake up in the morning, when you meet someone new you stalk them on all their social media sites Just to get to know anything you can about them, you memorize someone’s profile pictures because you have a crush on them, you will not follow someone unless they follow you first, you have an ideal followers’ to following ratio, you get phantom alerts, you are constantly on your phone when hanging out with friends, you get mad at people for not liking or commenting on your posts, and you would rather have a conversation online than face-to-face Oha). four intention might be to hop online to quickly update your status or tweet your latest life revelation, but social media is addictive and a major time consumer” (Rogers). A new survey from Experian found that Americans spend an average of 16 minutes every hour on social networking sites. The U. K. spends 13 minutes an hour and Australians spend 14 minutes an hour on average.
Ari Zoldan, the president and CEO if Quantum Media Holdings, is not shocked at all by these averages. “It’s a total time zap. If you think about it, we don’t go anywhere without our mobile phones, we’re always connected ith social media,” Zoldan says (Rogers). Rogers also says that talking about ourselves is more interesting to the users that talking about the news or famous people. “Social media has brought us even more into the ‘Me’ generation,” Zoldan says. “We are totally ego-centric. Do people really care that I Just checked into some museum?… I have people taking photos of their steak dinners. Who cares? It’s all me, me, me” (Rogers). Jonathan Moore spends his time on the internet creating the person he wants to be.
He goes through many measures to make sure people think ne is t person. He edits all his photos to make sure he looks the best he possibly can. He ‘likes’ a variety of music pages even if he has no clue as to who the artist is because he says that everyone knows that mature people listen to a little bit of everything. He adds random people so they do not know who he is Just so he can deceive them. He makes sure that everyone once in a while he shares a random news story so that he seems to be aware of the world and post thoughtful and deep statuses every day to make it seem like he is self-aware. He always thinks about taking a picture to post on
Instagram throughout the day before he does something. He knows he is wasting his time on creating the person he wants to be instead of focusing his time on discovering who he really is but that is what addiction is, he can’t help it (Moore). Jonathan says, “It’s not my use of the websites that trouble me, but my dependence on them to make me feel whole. Feeling complete should never be reliant on someone sitting at a computer pressing a button and accurately reflecting who I am online is impossible (…. )” (Moore). Ben Veal says that his ‘problem’ started in 2004 when he first became fascinated with social media. He started with Myspace, then Facebook, then LinkedIn, and finally Twitter.
A regular day for him would consist of at least 5 tweets, a couple of discussions on LinkedIn, and conversations with friends and family on Facebook. He would spend at least 2 hours of his day online. His excuse for being on Twitter and Facebook are that he has to communicate for a living so he was an early adopter. He is a social media addict who, while out in public or at events, are thinking about how to describe the event in 140 characters or less. For Ben, social media gives him a way to stay in touch with his friends and family with ittle effort. It’s easier for him than picking up the phone and talking to someone. He says it allows him to keep in contact with people that are all over the world (Veal). This is where the challenge comes in – to use social media to enhance relationships and not detract from them” (Veal). Instead of talking to his friends and family face-to- face, he tweets or post on Facebook. “Although I’m there in person, I’m on my Smartphone in my own little ‘social media land” (Veal). “With Twitter, things are taken one step further. The sheer speed at which one’s Twitter timeline updates itself akes me feel like there’s a danger that stepping away from the monitor will mean I miss an all-important piece of information that could transform my life! I know I need to cut down, but going ‘cold turkey simply isn’t an option” (Veal).
It is hard for Ben to cut social media out of his life when his Job requires it (Veal). “Working in PR means that social media has become a key part of what I do” (Veal). But he is trying to overcome it by saying ‘less is more’ and limiting it and being in control of his usage. David Rodriguez interviewed a girl at his school on what she does every day. She does stuff that a normal teenager does throughout the day but she goes to bed at night she usually spends up to two hours on social media sites. After a full day of school, work and homework, the last hours of the day?”or the early morning hours?” are the only time she can find to relax and do something mindless (Rodriguez).
Rodriguez found “In 2011, the National Sleep Foundation measured the impact of using technology before going to bed. They found that 13- to 18-year-olds were clocking lots of time in front of TV and phone screens before drifting off to sleep. Seventy-two percent reported using cell phones, 64 percent said they used music devices and 60 percent said they used a computer or laptop” (Rodriguez). For some people, using your phone or getting on the computer is normal. “The light coming off of your phone, laptop, iPad or TV can trick you into to feeling alert and awake even if you’re genuinely tired. That can lead to feeling irritable or upset (Rodriguez). “Social media is like a drug; Just a little taste and we can’t help but want more” (Fiorella).
Most social network sites are free so Sam Fiorella asks, what price do we pay? He nswers with an old adage: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. ” So in a sense, we are the product. They pay for access to us, the users. The more we use the sites, the more the networks track us. And the more they track us, the more they can charge their advertisers. It really costs us our time. We spend most of our time on the internet getting on social networks. It costs us our emotions. We share almost everything on social networks (Fiorella). “We put a bit of ourselves into every post and with each share we’re creating a digital version of ourselves, which isn’t ecessarily a constructive outlet” (Fiorella).
He uses the example of a study by the University of Waterloo which reported that Facebook can increase the likelihood of depression in some people. Social media takes an emotional toll on anyone who uses it. It costs us our privacy. Most people are so willing to give up their privacy for social networks. The social networks track you so they know how often you do certain things and what you are engaged in and with who. They say it allows them to provide a “better user experience” when everyone knows it is only to learn more about you Fiorella). “My birthday was a few days ago and I was happy. It was great, I enjoyed it. It was fun, but it was a series of texts, non-step tweets, and Facebook posts of Happy Birthday’ (Wygant).
Old friends said happy birthday to David on his birthday and he was glad they were thinking about him but he had people who were really close to him that posted birthday messages on his Facebook or Twitter instead of Just picking up the phone and calling him (Wygant). David says, “We now no longer need to talk to people. And it suits many of us because so many people have social phobias they ont want to talk to people anyway. Most people are too shy. Most people are afraid to get deeper and connect. (… ) We need to stop. We need to have one day a week where we Just put these things down and start connecting properly again. (… ) We need to go out there and actually connect to the world around us.
Technology has made our life easier, but it’s stopped us from connecting” (Wygant). The greatest effect of social media is a lack of focus on work and/or studies. Since their attention is constantly on what is going on with others on the internet, they tend to skip things hat need to be done or make the excuse that they are only online to communicate with friends. Some people will lose their Job or flunk out of school because of this. Another effect is that they are detached from social life (Mumford). “The more time one spends online, the lesser time he or she spends in the real world” (Mumford). It makes it so their emotional quotient doesn’t develop quite right.
When kids or teenagers spend hours on the internet it hinders their social interaction with actual people. Their confidence and self-esteem can also be affected and it is a cause of umerous other effects (Mumford). It has psychological effects, meaning that it opens the doors for voyeuristic tendencies because users can easily look into others’ lives. Any user of a social media site can access the details of other users whether they are in direct contact with them or are virtual strangers even with the privacy settings on most websites (Mumtord). A study came out that shows that people who use the internet a lot share one thing in common, depression (Grohol). This study shows that over-engaging in websites that serve to replace normal social function might be a cause for sychological disorders like depression and addiction. This type of addictive behavior can have a serious impact on mental health (Grohol). “People who are depressed don’t want to socialize, but the Internet makes it so much easier to do it. It may make a depressed individual feel more “connected” and help them make it through every day with their depression. (… ) It may be that the Internet has an empowering side ?” one that allows people suffering from clinical depression to reach out and find human social contact” (Grohol). Overcoming this addiction can be very challenging. There are some steps you can take to getting over it. You need to focus.
If you limit the number of social networking sites you use and use only the ones that are the most relevant to you then it is easier to focus on other things. Another is to cull your network. If you don’t know someone that well or not at all, don’t add them. Even though the person may have some sort of connection to you it does not mean you have to accept their friend request. Also you should not add someone who does not have a real profile picture like an avatar of some sort. You should also schedule your social media. Unless you have a really good reason, do not leave Facebook or Twitter open in your browser. That will tempt you even more to constantly check them. If you set a timer you can limit the amount of time you use.
When you use social networks you lose track of time reading through everything so setting a timer helps you become more aware of how much time you are actually spending on social networks (Dash). Glennon Melton, a blogger on Huffington Post, relates her online addiction to her bulimia. She talks about how it is always there and, like food, it never puts up a fght to her using it. She did an experiment where she didn’t use the internet for 40 days. She learned that social media transformed her into an input Junkie, meaning that she was constantly anxious and twitchy and fidgety. She was constantly feeling the urge to check all of her social media sites (Melton). I’d become so hooked on social media and email that I was waiting constantly for the next ping, chime and bleep alerting me of a note, text, Facebook message or phone call” (Cove). She says the internet allows her to avoid the loneliness she feels. She also learned that she had become a validation Junkie and as always thinking very shallow or rigid thoughts. She would ask all these strangers random questions like if she was good enough or if people liked her, Just so she could get a response from people or Just so people would post on her stuff to reassure herself. After she would do any type of activity, instead of being grateful or living in the moment, she would instantly start thinking about what social media site she was going to post what she was doing on.
She had a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), she used to go to parties Just so she would not miss out and now she couldn’t stay off the internet (Melton). Tony Gaskins talks about how it is hard not to be sucked into social media but that balance is essential because too much can be hazardous (Gaskins). He says that the best way to overcome your addiction is to limit your usage of the internet by setting up specific time limits. It is a good thing to stay connected and updates about rything but do not overdo it He says to learn to use your time doing other things eve that are more productive (Gaskins). “It is important that you focus on the real world, too, which exists outside.
Do not Just concentrate all your attention on the virtual world” (Gaskins). David Schneider admits that he has a problem with the addiction but he also thinks that there are good things to it also, not Just all bad things (Schneider). “And there’s my problem. Who wants to work when you could be sharing pictures of a dog that looks like Samuel L. Jackson or reading a blog where the chief rabbi confesses to eating bacon but it’s 0K because ‘he didn’t inhale” (Schneider). He says his real problem is Twitter. He is always checking it and fghting the urge to tweet. He is a comedian so he can say it is for work so that he can try out Jokes but what he is really doing is ignoring his family and friends.
He says he hardly ever fully present when having a conversation with someone because he is always wondering if what they are talking about would be a good enough tweet. He gets a fraction of his work done and his concentration span is very little. He thinks the twitter version of himself is more witty and interesting than the real him. He imagines how much better the world would be if you could block people like you can on Facebook and Twitter. But he thinks that talking to someone on the computer is Just as valid and talking to someone face-to-face. Even though you cannot share a smile or hear someone laugh hile communication digitally he wonders if there really is a big difference between them (Schneider). “(… on the one hand, escaping into a good book or into a slightly more intense/extrovert version of yourself through drinking (both acceptable), and escaping into the internet or a slightly more intense/extrovert version of yourself online (not so acceptable)” (Schneider). One thing I have been asked about while doing research for this essay is if you can prevent becoming addicted. I wasn’t able to find anything on prevention but I think the obvious answer is not to overdo using the internet. Limit your usage as much as you can and don’t think you are going to miss out on something if you are not checking it every 10 minutes. Social media can be a good and a bad thing. There are many pros yet many cons against it. Citations “All Pro’s N Con’s. ” #3. Social Networking. All Pros N Cons, n. d. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. Cove, Michelle. “Is Social Media Turning You into a Mommy Zombie? ” The Huffington Post.
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