Since the dawn of man, we humans have developed a unique way in which we communicate with one another. With the progression of time, we have expanded to an immense degree the ways in which we communicate with one another. Thanks to the advancements of twenty-first century technology, we have taken communication to a whole other level. Through the use of internet social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we have been able to not only communicate with close relatives and/or friends, but we are able to communicate with many other people that are situated in different faces of the earth, whom come from various backgrounds. We also use different forms of media on the internet, such as YouTube being probably the biggest one, to make videos that can be seen by anybody in the world who has access to the internet. By mentioning these different means of social media, it can be sufficed that we’ve come a long way from just your mere dial up phone, or even using Pigeons to send letters. However, with having the ability to communicate with billions of people around the world, one can only wonder, what affect has social media had on mankind? Has social media become an addiction of some sort to us humans? With this essay, I will be describing my view on social media with the affect that it has had on us humans. Also, I will be using research done that shows some of the affects that social media has on us. Along with my own take on the matter.
When it comes to social media as a whole, you can see it almost as a “Universal Connection”. What I mean by this is that social media has enabled us the unique ability to communicate on a vast scale. This communication is so grand, that we can communicate with practically anyone, located on any face of the earth that has internet access in order to be on social media. This may sound all well and good, yet, what exactly does this vast communication entail? To use an example from someone who lived in an era that social media didn’t exist, I interviewed a female in her early 40’s. She did not want her information to be disclosed, so for the sake of explanation, we’ll call this lady Sally. According to the interview I had done with Sally, she said that “back then, the most we could do to get a message to somebody, would be by using the post office to send letters, or a regular house phone”. By this analogy, one can see that back then, it was a chore to send messages to desired people. Through the use of social media, we can now do this pretty much anywhere, at any time of the day, to whom ever we desire. On top of that, social media has found a way to bring us all closer.
With that being said, having access to associate ourselves with whomever we desire, at any given point in the day may sound all well and good. Yet, if you stop for a second, and really take some time to think about this, you will find that this can be a big distraction to an individual’s daily activities. According to a Newspaper outlet, “even in our downtime we are wired to be social, which may explain why so many of us head to media such as Facebook and Instagram in our spare time.” (Katie par.1) On top of that, it is also mentioned in this Newspaper outlet that “Melbourne psychologist Dr Ben Buchanan says some of his patients are spending up to eight hours a day on social media. “They are so fixated they forget to eat, and take social media with them to go to the bathroom,” Dr Buchanan says.” (Katie par.7) As you can see from even a professional stand point, social media, in some extreme cases, is addicting to some people. I also found it funny when the Dr said that they take social media with them to go to the bathroom. Reason why I say this is because from time to time, I find myself doing this same thing. I would have the urge to use a toilet, and unlike those in the movies whom you find with a newspaper article in their hands, with me, you would find a smartphone in my hands.
To digress a bit from seeing the internet as such a bad thing since it can become an addiction, some people see it no different than the real world. According to a journal “viewed through the lens of social interest, the online world is similar to the offline world. Online endeavors, organizations, communities, and comments can either fall along the continuum of being socially useful or socially useless.” ( Fleck Jesse and Leigh Johnson 142) With that being said, it’s as if although social media is a thing of the “cyber world” it’s just like socializing in the real world. On top of that, this journal further expands upon this by stating that “Given that continual expansion of the Internet and the myriad ways it connects, affects, and shapes the lives of people throughout the world, discussing the role of social interest in a virtual environment is as important now as when Adler first introduced the concept to a nonvirtual community in the early 20th century.” ( Fleck Jesse and Leigh Johnson 142) This pretty much means that social media, going back to what I had said previously, is what is bringing the whole world together as one. Yet, even though this is the case, this does not once so ever take away the fact that social media can be a serious addiction. With the constant desire to want to see your notifications, show off a new look, or get caught up on the latest medium, social media is like a drug that we just can’t stop using.
Having said that last statement brings me to a person I had interviewed whom previously suffered an addiction to social media. This person also didn’t want their information to be disclosed, so for the sakes of reference, we’ll call this person Roger. I asked Roger if he has ever experienced any addiction with social media. He responded “yeah”. I proceeded to ask, what form of social media was it that had you hooked? He replied “Facebook and YouTube.” I then asked, why exactly was it that you couldn’t detach yourself from it? Roger said that “every day after school, I felt drained. So I would go on Facebook and just scroll down my newsfeed and find mad funny videos. Then I would watch a bunch of video game youtubers play video games since they were funny.” So I asked him, how long would you stay on Facebook and watching videos on YouTube? He told me that “I don’t know to be honest. I would just go home, go on Facebook and watch YouTube videos until Dinner was ready, get my dinner, go back to my room and just keep using my Facebook and watching YouTube videos.” Since he wasn’t so sure about how long he would stay doing this, I asked at what time he went to bed during this point in his life. He told me “around 12 or 1.” By Roger saying all of this, you can see that being caught up on social media all the time can make you lose track of time. On top of that, with the entertainment aspect of it, social media can have you hooked for hours upon hours.
By the sounds of things you may now be considering social media as something of an addiction. Although social media is quite evidently addicting, it isn’t all that bad when used at moderation. Roger said to me that “what helped me out with getting over social media was disconnecting for a whole month.” Roger didn’t use Facebook, YouTube, or any other form of social media no matter how tempting it was, or how bored he might have been after school. Instead he decided to try and catch up on his homework to help boost his grades in school since he was slacking, and decided to start reading more books instead. Roger told me “now I just go on Facebook every so often, but I still love watching YouTube videos, but I watch it like how I watch TV.” By analyzing the efforts made by Roger, one may see the solution to getting over the addiction by simply disconnecting.
Although this may seem to be a “universal solution” to a “universal addiction”, for some people, they might be so hooked that this just may not be enough. For those whom are truly stuck under the influence of social media, I would recommend them to seek out a psychologist who could aid them by guiding them in the right direction. All in all, I personally believe that to every good thing can come some bad. With social media, there is far more to it than just it being an addiction. Social media has found a way to immerse itself into today’s society. Now a days, it’s very hard to find one person who doesn’t have any social media account, or doesn’t watch any kind of YouTube videos, or even things such as Vines, which is becoming popularized now. Social media is used by many as a gateway to entertainment. You may also find that, other people use it as a way to promote themselves and even start a business. As long as you don’t revolve your entire life around social media, and disconnect from time to time, I think you will be just fine.
Fleck, Jesse, and Leigh Johnson-Migalski. “The Impact Of Social Media On Personal And Professional Lives: An Adlerian Perspective. “Journal Of Individual Psychology71.2 (2015): 135-142. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Dec 2015
Katie, Cincotta “Hooked on Digital Highs” The age, 2 July 2015. LexisNexis. Web. 01 Dec. 2015
Roger. Personal Interview. 30 November 2015
Sally. Personal Interview. 25 November 2015