How much is too much when it comes to Social Media?
This question can have multiple answers at the same time, the answers can go in various directions because there are so many things when we talk about social media. It has become a common source of extracting information, for entertainment and for getting to know almost everything. It can be surprising if we look at the ways in which we have this constant need of checking these platforms and keeping ourselves constantly updated with the happenings around the globe. It can even be considered the need of today’s changing world. As there is so much happening around the world and we also have the need and right to know about it. What can be better than taking out your Smartphone and with 2-3 swipe of your finger you can access whatever you would like to know? It requires the bare minimum movement to know anything and in this fast pace of life that we are living in, nothing can be much more impactful and helping. It can be good up to a certain extent but then the question that arises is that how to know your extent? How do we get to understand the real impact of all that usage? Who can decide for us? Why do we feel the urge to constantly check various platforms? What is so important in there? The list can go on but Smart phones being a necessity in our life has to have a limit. How do we get to understand the real implication of all that usage?
We must have heard about this say that too much of anything can be harmful, let it be a habit, emotions, a behavior or anything in which we are involved. There is a point at which we can start feeling or experiencing some sort of negativity that generates from the ‘too much’ persistence of a phenomenon. It is natural and we often have to face the consequences of it, even if we realize our too much engagement with anything. Every action has a reaction; it is not just to say rather it can be understood in this context that our usage of these platforms do have a reaction on us. We feel it or not but our constant attention being directed towards these social media platforms have made us ignorant to other things. Ironically even our quality time is associated with one or the other ways through which we can keep in touch with some kind of technology. It is one of our habits now. It took some considerable amount of time for it to rank up to a level of being a habit. It also include some aspects of self-regulation when it comes to pursuing a habit as there are multiple factors that contribute in making any habit. We try to look it from different ways like how comfortable it would be, how engaging it would be, how it will be benefiting and what will be the extent to which we have to get out from our comfort zone? It is true that sometimes we just don’t feel like coming out of our comfort zone. Anything that we feel is challenging we think before going for it. One of it can be avoiding social media platforms. It is challenging and raises the question of what else can be done apart from it that can be as easy as scrolling on social media which is not making us think in a positive manner. There could have been a time that you might have just kept scrolling and scrolling without even thinking about the time that you invested in it. Then after that all of a sudden you realized that you have wasted your time. Even after that it continues to be intact in many cases. Also it leads to an immediate gratification. It is just a repetitive behavior that is established by our constant urge to keep ourselves occupied and the fear of missing out. Fear of missing out is an actual social anxiety and it can even have biological responses.
It is not entirely known by us that the kind of discomfort, the thoughts and emotions that we keep on developing subconsciously after being bombarded with all the information. We think and feel that we are being updated by news and important information but that is true to a certain limit. We tend to overstep that limit every time we pick up our phones to check these platforms. Even when we try to avoid, it might evoke some kind of anxiety or distress. There has been numerous researches from various parts of the world that has shown the link between high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Still the scariest part is that almost everyone is using one or the other platform. You can look around yourself get the proof. It increases our insecurity as we start comparing ourselves and our lives with what we see on our screens. We constantly keep comparing ourselves with others. Even though these comparisons were always there but now time on social media and the frequency is increasing day by day. The number of “why can’t I” has increased. After this everything that is there is competing for attention and every like and comment that we get influences us. It is like seeking the approval and validation from others. There can also be social media harassment that one might experience in form of cyber bullying which has a direct impact on our safety, self-esteem and confidence. We see stories of suicides, rapes, murders, attacks. Distraction is also an aspect when it comes to social media, as we think that we can use these platforms for distracting ourselves from our work. In reality it distracts us from our work as we start relying more on social media. Imagine that you are working and you get a notification, you ignore it. Then again you get another one, but after sometime the anticipation and need to check those notifications distracts you and your focus is shifted instantly. It can lead to the extent of being addicted also.
Are we using our phones or our phones are using us? This question is also essential to think. We have a choice. It is up to us that what kind of experience we want to craft for ourselves after using all the social media platforms. Intentionally or unintentionally we have turned our life into social media life, be it personally, academically or professionally. Anything we do often is worth our critical observation. Social media is neither good or bad. It starts with recognizing the problem and the effects that it has on you. After that only you will be able to see and bring in changing your habits as well as its consumption. We cannot blame social media entirely as we are the ones who are accessing it. What we really need to work on is ourselves, the ways in which we use social media, how we perceive it and what we think that it really is. Monitoring what we are feeding our mind is also what we need to think about by constantly asking questions to ourselves about it because currently it might not be affecting us but it is making us vulnerable in ways. Also it is exposing us to a potential disturbance that we might face in future. At the end the choice is in our hand as social media has the potential to lift us as well as to break us. It is and will be our responsibility to choose accordingly and make the most out of it.