Jim Moodie in Social Marketing Solutions, Directors and Executives
Principal Owner • Information Access & Design Inc
Social Media Addiction
Over the past 100+ years, every new “social” activity has brought with it addiction; from tobacco, to narcotics, alcohol, gambling and our current substance to abuse, Social Media.
The parallels between today’s need for social media connections and the needs of an addict are frightening. People become so obsessed with maintaining their social media network they ignore their families, place their jobs at risk and even in a strange twisted way ignore the friends. Social media contact becomes all-consuming and the proof is everywhere, just look up from your phone and look around.
Facebook, Twitter and a host of other platforms allow people to gain instant attention, and through that attention feel a part of society. Unfortunately, much like drugs, the effect is not real and leads to depression once reality sets in. There are cases of rage and suicide being traced back to social media “unfriending” or blocking… have our lives really become that consumed by our need to be “liked”?
We may never know how many people have lost their jobs due to using social media at work as the dismissal would be classified as failing to meet the job requirements. If we could peel back the legal reason for the termination in many cases the underlying reason they fail to meet the requirements is the amount of time they spend on social media.
On one of the few warm days this summer I was at the beach and noticed a group of teenagers sitting together, each one absorbed in their own smart-phone, texting and posting away. This went on for over an hour, there were few conversations (other than to show each other a post on the phone) and nothing you could call playing. Here you have a group of youth that don’t know how to interact without a screen in front of them.
A similar situation was seen at a provincial park with a group of people walking through to woods. They would walk a few feet then the phone would chime, they would stop and type a response then walk a few more feet and another chime.
There have even been cases where people have been physically injured by their social media addiction. Several videos showing people walking into poles, fountains or stepping out in traffic without looking have made it to, of all places, the internet and social media platforms. These people are so focused on their social media interaction they ignore the world around them.
When people NEED something as superficial as Social Media to the extent we are seeing in today’s society we have an addiction problem. Just as people need treatment to control their need for alcohol, drugs or gambling, we need to start now to raise awareness of the dangers of Social Media Addiction before it is too late.
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