“I hate social media.”
I’ve heard a lot of people say this, and I’m one of them.
When I’ve been sitting on my phone scrolling through my Facebook feed, and suddenly I realize ten minutes have passed looking at pointless posts that bear little to no relevance to my life, my knee-jerk reaction is to blame Facebook, and proclaim my hate for social media.
It makes us feel better about ourselves, claiming that we hate the thing that dominates so much of our lives. And that thing could be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or more likely, a combination of many social media sites. As we make this declaration of hate, not only do we get a feeling of superiority over our fellow social media brethren who are just as addicted as we are but haven’t conjured up the courage to declare their misguided hate, we also do something far more important and dangerous.
We take the onus off of ourselves.
WE aren’t to blame, SOCIAL MEDIA is to blame!!!
By blaming social media, we completely remove the burden of responsibility.
Now, it is very true that Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Instagram, and other sites have spent billions of dollars studying their subjects (us) and learning how to manipulate our minds. They create a world where opinions can be shaped, and people’s brains begin to be changed by using social media. Literally.
These social media sites and large corporations have learned and devised the best strategies to this point in human history of shaping our behaviors and creating massive legions of followers. This is big money, people. And we are their sources of income.
So, to put it simply, yes, social media sites do share a large share of the fault as it pertains to my social media addiction, as well as yours. What can a lowly commoner like you or me do against a multi-billion dollar corporation that has the best of the best learning how to, for lack of a better word, brainwash you, and create a mental addiction?
Well, fortunately, the fact is that we can do something about it. Folks, we are not hopeless. No matter how much money and work and research is put into figuring out how to control our behaviors, we still have free will.
YOU, can do something about your mental addiction, and the countless hours that are collectively wasted flipping through pictures of cats on Instagram (although, a little bit of Catstagram time is ok…).
Ultimately, we are in control of our own lives, and we can set limits for ourselves. This struggle is one I am currently working through and improving on, and I plan to take steps toward developing a more healthy relationship with social media, since it does have its merits, like staying in touch with friends and family you actually care about.
Nate Green, who I’ve mentioned before, actually wrote a very enlightening article on this very subject, and I am currently in the process of implementing some of these tips into my life. That article can be found here, it’s worth a read.
With that, I challenge all of you to take one step toward limiting your social media time and becoming reacquainted, or, for some of you younger folks who grew up on social media, acquainted, with the real physical world that is around us.
Whether that means deleting apps off your phone so they are not as easily accessible, going for a walk in the world without your phone and breathing in the fresh air, putting your phone in a different room when you go to bed at night, or simply putting your phone down right now before even finishing this article, whatever it is, it’s a step toward wasting a little less of your time scrolling through a social media feed.