blog | 4min Read
Published on December 18, 2020
Yes. You are.
You could be anyone, anywhere around the world, and we can be sure that you’re spending too much time on social media. A high school student who doesn’t spend time on social media doesn’t exist. And if you’re on social media, you’re definitely spending too much time on it.
And the reason is that social media companies created social media to be addictive. They learnt from gamblers in Las Vegas casinos, and applied it to you. The only difference between social media and any other addictive substance, is that social media doesn’t come with warning labels.
Now this topic is generally considered preachy. ‘Beta, don’t spend too much time on the social media’ is something everyone has heard before. So we’ve kind of learned to tune it out. The ironic thing is that those people who tell us to spend less time on social media are the ones spending more time on it. Facebook is more for uncles and aunties than teenagers.
But it is something to think about. Humans are social animals who want social approval. We are built to compare. Social media just pumps steroids into that comparison. We see pictures of our friends on exotic vacations, in ‘colourful’ parties, and in amazing relationships (definitely not ‘king-queen’ posts). We see all these images and wonder why our lives aren’t as exciting as theirs.
And this actually leads to a drop in self-esteem and self-confidence. We get so used to just comparing and finding faults in our own lives, that we start developing anxiety and even depression. This sometimes can lead to a fall in grades and even disturbed sleep. In general, we become unsure of ourselves and are always in a bad mood. The problem is that nothing we see on our feed is actually real.
Social media is all about showing people how amazing your life is. You could be really struggling with life, but we feel the need to show that everything is alright. We reward each other for this fairy tale with likes and comments. When was the last time you saw somebody being honest on social media about their issues in life? It just doesn’t allow us to admit that something is wrong, and to simply ask for some help. ‘Cause how can something be wrong, when you’re showing everyone how perfect your life is.
A bigger issue you’ll face is once you start working. We’re already the ‘too long, didn’t read’ generation. Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. We see these influencers with a 100k followers and we try to model ourselves after them. So you begin to believe that the way to be successful is instant fame or nothing. It’s viral or nothing. That makes us weaker. When we start working, our boss isn’t going to care how many followers we have, or how one post went viral some months back. Just remember that Salt Bae is still dropping salt on his arm.
Now the problem isn’t social media completely. It has connected the world like never before. But it’s the infinite scroll, where there is no end. It’s that sense of FOMO, which makes you feel that even a day without an app will remove you from every social circle in your life.
So what can you do to ease up?
Unfriend the noise. Reduce the number of people who are popping up on your feed.
Stop watching random youtube videos, which suck up time.
When you’re sitting with a person, forget your phone. Just talk.
Develop offline hobbies, which don’t include a screen.
Don’t go to bed with a screen and don’t wake up with a screen. This is going to be the toughest.
Read normal books, not on your iPad or Kindle.
Follow artists, motivational people, poets. Use social media for more than thirst traps.
Time your activity on each platform. You’ll be shocked.
Social media is always going to be there. At one point Facebook was king, now Tik-Tok is, tomorrow something else will be. The point is to give yourself a regular break from all your devices. Let your mind wander and fill with ideas, which won’t happen if you’re staring at a screen. You’ll learn new things and will stop comparing yourself with others. You’ll slowly realise that your life is more than just posting, liking and commenting.