Back in the days, humans had three basic essentials, food, clothing and shelter. However, the new age has subdued all our basic needs into one sole category – The internet.
Yes, we are the social media generation. After all, social media is a startling innovation. You can interact with new people, build businesses, connect with old friends and even stalk your crush (btw please don’t). However, with every new transformation comes a downfall, and the downfall in social media is precarious.
Although the ideal existence of social media is to connect people and make socialising easier, ironically, obsessing over it only makes us lonelier. According to a study by Dr. Brian Primack from the University of Pittsburgh, social media obsession causes an increase in social isolation.
According to the research, participants who were more digitally connected felt more socially detached.
We are obsessing over social media. More and more people seem to be glued to their Smartphones — or, more precisely, the social media platforms these phones carry and run all the time, and who runs it, of course us. According to data driven from Facebook, we upload 1.8 million pictures on Facebook each day. That is a little over 1/6th of the world’s population. Pew research institute suggests that social media usage has increased by 1000% in the past 8 years for the ages of 18 to 29. This means 98% of college-aged students use social media and spend an average of 2 hours on it.
But what would make social media so toxic? Well, the right question is, why are we obsessing over this mere form of entertainment? Why has the face behind the screen a greater privilege over the person in front of us? It is the search for validation. Sigh!
Our natural instinct is to seek validation and acceptance from others and although getting 300 likes from strangers on Instagram releases happy reactant like dopamine in our brain, it actually makes no sense. As much as social media feeds you happy pills, it can also cause depression.
A number of studies suggest that social media is increasing depression, especially among teens. Social media posts are, mostly, throughout and always hyper-positive. Mostly everyone on social media seems to have a perfect life. They eat the best of food, do the best of activities and hang out with the best of people.
What we don’t identify is that social media is just plain pretentious and is making us one too.
We see the perfect selfie of a model on Instagram but we do not see those 2500 selfies taken before along with all the photoshop and filter skills. A quote by Steven Furtick says it all, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
To look through one side, the problem with social media is the fact that people only share the good things about their lives (they hide the reality behind those good things). This constant barrage of good news causes a vicious cycle in which people post the great things that are happening, which causes their friends to only share the good things that happen in order to keep up. This kills any sense of vulnerability, of genuine shared experiences that were so crucial to the emotional closeness between friends.
Allowing someone to see you embarrassed/vulnerable actually makes people like you; but with that being a social media savvy, it’s a no-no, how will people ever connect? Social Media also demeans our sense of reality. We are so connected and constantly distracted in our virtual life that we tend to outlook on people in our real life. There is an issue of maintaining friendships, which often times is just done through social networks as opposed to hanging out.
The lack of real face-to-face interaction in person leads to the feeling of isolation. To put in a nutshell, social media obsession is killing our ability to find real connections.
Social media has a strong application for people activism rather than just limiting it to hashtag activism. Moreover, we need to take a break for a while, put our phones away, make that apple pie and gaze at the sky. All in all, we all can live a better-happy-life if we have hands to hold rather than keys to click.
Pursuing MBA while living on books and chai. Believer of spirituality and humanism. Introvert who expresses through writing.