Do you scroll through social media apps countless times in a day? How many times do you agonise over the likes and followers you command on your social media handles? Do you find yourself having close calls on busy roads because your eyes are glued to your phone as you cross the street? If your answer to two or more of these questions is a yes, you are a social media patient.
The evolution of technology in the past couple of decades has brought us remarkable tools and resources. Social media channels are one of them. The introduction of social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Whatsapp has changed the way we interact with others. Instant messaging (IM) has replaced interpersonal communication that are being made more personalised and expressive through emoji. In one touch, anyone can express their emotions and feelings through these tiny yellow faces and figures, which make interactions fun, seamless, and comfortable.
We use social media apps for various reasons; socialising, finding and sharing information, shopping, and sometimes simply for distraction. We have an app for everything; fitness, food, entertainment, weather forecast, breaking news. The pressure to stay updated on all of them is immense. According to a survery, on average a user spends two hours and twenty-two minutes everyday liking, tweeting, updating, and randomly browsing on their social media apps. While these platforms have their benefits, using them frequently and recklessly can make us feel increasingly unhappy and isolated in the long run.
British science-fiction TV Series, Black Mirror, aptly predicts what being glued to our black-mirrored screens does to us. Exposing the dark side of technology, the show foretells the invisible effects of social media channels and how they can influence our decisions and actions when used haphazardly. While the show is fiction, the negative effects of networking platforms are not.
Revealing the dangers of social media channels, which stems from imprudent usage of the social media platforms, Soulveda brings an important question to the fore; when do our networking platforms turn a foe from an ally.
The restlessness caused by fewer ‘likes’ or cyberbullying can lead to anxiety and depression.
A tech addiction
At times described as a habit more addictive than drinking or smoking, excessive or compulsive usage of social media has been noted to be a behavioural addiction. The uncontrollable urge to access these apps affects the brain and the body, causing stress and various other psychosomatic disorders. So, if you can’t keep your phone away for too long, maybe you should take a social media break and focus on getting rid of this compulsion.