Are We Addicted to Social Media?
A couple months ago my aunt texted me informing me that she was going to give up Facebook. She said that she was tired of seeing people arguing, users complaining about various things, etc. I totally understood where she was coming from and didn’t blame her for wanting to leave the social media site. However, after a couple weeks she told me she was back on Facebook. I was confused because originally she had left because she was tired of what she was seeing on her feed, but then she couldn’t resist going back. So I started wondering, is it true that we can actually become addicted to social media?
I know personally that I struggle going a couple of hours without feeling the urge to look at Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Even when I tell myself that I’m going to take a break from social media, it doesn’t usually last that long. I think one reason that social media draws us in is because it keeps us feeling like we are updated on everyone and everything around us. Therefore, when we abandon social media, we end up feeling like we are missing out on something important. To some extent it is true that when you leave a social media site you miss out on things because there are constantly new memes, events, and other things being circulated around the internet. It is almost as if when we are not active on social media, we are missing out on a part of the world around us.
Research actually shows that big social media companies like Facebook and Twitter work to make their sites more addictive. One way they do this is through notifications. We can be off our phones and not actively on social media, but then we get a twitter notification and all of a sudden we are drawn back in. When my aunt attempted to leave Facebook she said part of the reason she couldn't stay away is because Facebook was emailing her giving her updates of what was happening on her newsfeed. So even when we want to try and escape social media, companies do everything in their power to keep us locked in.
I do believe that a lot of people are in some way addicted to social media, whether we are aware of it or not. In today’s society, it is almost hard not to be addicted. So if you ever find yourself feeling like you are addicted to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social networking site, you are most definitely not alone.