It’s time to escape the depressing addiction of social media

Photo by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash

Social media is nothing new, websites such as Myspace were founded almost 15 years ago. Ever since, we have become a generation addicted to taking pictures of our food and sharing even the most mundane moments of our lives with the world. So why has social media addiction only recently become so apparent?

At it’s peak, Myspace had almost 76 million daily active users. According to recent statistics, Facebook has over 2.2 billion daily active users an 11% increase year on year. That’s just over a quarter of the people on the planet. And that’s just Facebook. There is a plethora of other apps ready to fight for your attention. Instagram recently reached over 1 billion users. Social media usage is everywhere, and this addiction is negatively impacting people from all corners of the world.

The addictive nature of social media is no accident. As former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya explains in this video, the platform was cleverly crafted to use engagement loops that trigger the release of dopamine in our bodies, which give us gratification and ultimately, addiction. That little red icon you see when you have a message or notification for example. It feels good, right?

Cause for concern

I believe we ought to be extremely concerned about this behaviour, especially when social media companies are hiring psychologists and ‘attention engineers’ in order to keep our attention; because manipulating our attention ultimately means more profit for them.

There are more than a few people who are concerned about the dangers of this addiction. Dr. Cal Newport also has a great TED talk discussing this.

I believe the saying goes: “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product”.

“person holding black iPhone 4 front of MacBook Air” by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Social media is disrupting the workplace

Perhaps you’ve seen this already in your workplace. During a meeting, there are multiple people not-so-sneakily checking their phone or checking Facebook on their laptop. Not only is this extremely rude, but they’re telling everyone in the room that they’re less important than whoever they’re responding to on social media.

If you can’t participate in a meeting — that you’re being paid to attend —without checking your phone, that’s a problem.

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Social media is hurting our mental health

Numerous studies have concluded that use (or increased use) of social media is linked to depression, low self-esteem, and extreme cases, suicide. We continue to subconsciously torture ourselves by using social media because of the subliminal and addictive practices that deceive us.

The only way is up

In January of this year, I deleted both my Facebook and Twitter accounts. What happened next? Did my life deteriorate into a spiral of depression and solitude? Absolutely not. If anything, my relationships with friends and family grew stronger and more meaningful.

Whether it’s declining your usage slowly, or just deleting your account, the next step is simple.

The time to escape the depressing addiction of social media, is now.