My title in this article may seem a complete over dramatization of the negative effects of social media, but I am going to vehemently disagree, and explain why throughout the rest of this post. Do NOT misconstrue this as me thinking that social media is the root of all evils in this world.Remember, nothing is inherently good or bad but it is our error-filled perceptions that make them seem so. However, if you are trying to become the strongest version of yourself and live on the narrow path of happiness and fulfillment it is essential that you eliminate or drastically curtail your use of social media.
In this day and age it is almost impossible to live without electronic communication, unless you want to become a hermit and live on a mountain. Social Media is an integral component of electronic communication so if you want to be involved in today’s world it is almost a necessity. Therefore if you do end up using social media it is essential that you batch your use of social media so that you are NOT incessantly checking your Facebook or twitter every five minutes. (there are real dangers of excessive social media and electronic information consumption). However, I will discuss in part 2 some alternatives I have used instead of social media that have dramatically sky-rocketed my production.
So why am I so adamant that you need to get rid of social media or drastically curtail you use? Well I could almost write a novel about the slew of negative effects social media has, but I will limit myself to the primary ones on here. However, as mentioned in a previous post use your own experience to guide you about how social media is truly effecting your health, happiness, and cognition. However currently you are most likely too desensitized to the deleterious effects to really understand the whole host of negative effects social media has on you. Therefore I implore you to take at least a 3 day break from using any form of social media. Then go back to using it, and be aware of how much your ability to focus decreases, anxiety levels increases, and how this insidious feeling of unsatisfaction arises.
The three primary reasons that social media should be entirely eliminated or use should be drastically curtailed are:
- Opportunity Cost – For all the finance and business majors out there this will make complete sense. Imagine all the amazing and kick ass things you could have been doing instead of sitting by yourself in front of a screen “communicating” with others. Do NOT kid yourself and think that your barely spending a lot of time on social media. If that is you, I implore that you track how much time you are spending on Facebook. One resource I found extremely helpful was Rescue Time.
- Gives you a Distorted Sense of Reality – One of my favorite professors at BU and one of the most accomplished scientist and people in the world Jim Collins once said in class most young people walk around now a days depressed because of social media. The utter truth of that statement did NOT register till months later because of the quip he made after that he was so lively and happy because he had a dumb flip phone. But he was absolutely correct because social media distorts reality and makes one think that all of life should be instagram post worthy. It is the small things in life, the everyday miracles, that will bring you the greatest joys in life. Why you may ask? It is the small things where you can most easily appreciate the universal essence in them without your mind or ego becoming attached to them.
- Destroys your attention span and ability to complete great work – Social media is absolutely terrible for your attention. The reason Social Media is so unbelievably addicting is because people resort to it to fulfill a need that it never does. When people have a food addiction, they get addicted to bad food when they get hunger pangs. But sooner or later they will get physically full. People go to social media because of a sense of loneliness but social media does NOTHING to counteract that feeling. You need to go spend time with ACTUAL people to do that, not with screens. But as I mentioned in a previous post one should NOT run away from those feelings. Becoming reliant on the surge of dopamine your brain releases every time you get a new message or like will absolutely cripple your ability to focus or complete great work because you will be incessantly searching for the next great thing.
I hope this post helped elucidate the dangers of social media, and if you decide to continue to use social media (it is definitely not the most pragmatic choice, but if you plan well enough it can be done!) at least now you have a clear understanding of some of the dangers and how to avoid them. Stay tuned for part 2 in which I will go into a detailed description of how I plan to phase out social media from my life.
Chase your Dreams without Killing Yourself,
PS Here are a few ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.