Ease Your Social
Our cell phones and social networks make it easier than ever to connect with others and hear about world events as they unfold. So, why do many people feel unfulfilled in this revolutionary era of connection and innovation? Shouldn’t our unprecedented access to information improve society? Ideally, it should make us better by increasing the accountability of those in power, keeping family close, and allowing us to learn faster.
Instead of browsing web pages containing informative and constructive content, millions succumb to the frequent social media use that psychologically harms society. What began as harmless attempts to let our loved ones know what we are doing, has snowballed into an endless popularity contest that many of us are guilty of getting off on (including myself).
Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya describes this phenomena as “dopamine driven feedback loops”, in this excellent conversation on social capital held by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. This is the process of becoming physically addicted to the dopamine rushes we get from likes, comments, and followers.
Do you have hundreds of facebook friends that you might never talk to? I do. And to that effect, we make our social media profiles broad overviews of life that make it seem like we are engaged and doing fantastic, regardless of the reality. This can be harmful behavior if we allow our self worth to be attached to the number of likes or followers we receive.
A great representation of this situation is an episode of the Netflix show “Black Mirror” called “Nosedive”. In a society segregated by social media scores, the protagonist destroys her life by sacrificing her authenticity to gain social points. Ironically, she discovers freedom in a jail cell where she can think and speak as she pleases for the first time in her life.
It’s time to face the possibility that instead of enhancing our perspectives and improving our networks, we are allowing social media to keep us in the box we desperately desire to escape.
To avoid this situation, I encourage reduced usage of social media or even a complete break if you feel like you need it. Go out and find new ways to be social, pursue interests that you haven’t acted on, and bask in the beauty of the present moment.
Understand that the energy you put into the current moment is all there is, and that energy will manifest itself into your mindset. When you let this mentality take over your life, you will find yourself caring less about others’ feedback, and learning more about what matters to you. This is the pathway towards fulfillment. It is the path to a happier and healthier personality. Social media is a fantastic tool, with a darker side. We should all be more conscious of how and why we use it.
Social media is one of the greatest tools of the 21st century, but how and why we use it determines whether it will make a positive or negative overall impact on our lives.