If you’re like me, mornings consist of getting locked into a tug-of-war with my snooze button—on my phone, with one of those fancy sleep apps of course—that eventually leads to me begrudgingly rousing from the sweet, sweet comfort of my bed to check all the notifications patiently waiting for me in my phone’s status bar. It’s probably not too far-fetched of an assumption that one of the first things our generation does upon waking is to plug ourselves back in to social media. It’s hard to resist the allure of seeing what’s happened during sleepytime when we’ve become wired to compulsively check our activity on the net.
But it doesn’t stop with our groggy morning fix. Social media is an addicting, habit-forming substance that, if left unregulated, can turn us into Internet zombies. Just checking Facebook this one time for like, a few seconds while waiting for your coffee turns into an uncontrollable urge to peek at your various social outlets throughout the day. It’s not disconcerting until you consciously stop to think about how it’s affecting us. That insatiable need to refresh your feed every few minutes or stare at your phone any given moment in the day that you’re not actively doing something is actually impacting the way your mind processes information and changing your social relationships.
We need more, more, more.
It’s easy to equate not doing anything in the current moment to being utterly bored. We’ve become accustomed to instant gratification to the point where we willfully check out of reality at a moment’s notice instead of living in the present. The ubiquitous network of ever-flowing information has led some to believe having the Internet at our fingertips is wreaking havoc on our memory and causing our attention spans to dwindle. Anything larger than a bite-sized chunk of information in one sitting is TL;DR (too long; didn’t read).
We’re narcissistic and lonely.
Forget being realistic. Social media is a display of your life and a general reflection of your persona, so of course you’re inclined to make it seem as perfect as possible. It encourages people to share every minute detail of their lives and every fleeting opinion they form. We feel empowered by likes and comments and despair when those interactions are lacking. We’ve become isolated behind screens, with the majority of our communication occurring online instead of face-to-face. Being around people doesn’t always curb the need to be connected to media. In most instances, it’s rude, although we might not stop to think about it; flipping through Instagram while holding a conversation is a good way to show the other party that you’re completely uninterested in what they have to say.
Love it or hate it, almost everything has become a social media tool. It’s nearly impossible to ignore, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Remember to savor the little joys in life. Share that picture of the delicious cake you made, but don’t forget to actually enjoy it.
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