To say that social media is a “hot topic” would be the epic understatement of the century. Today, social media is ubiquitous and omni-present on virtually every device that’s connected to the Internet, and it has become a cornerstone of our everyday relationships, thought processes and decision making.
Despite the fact that I was born in ’82 – the very fringe of the “Millennial” group definition – I personally do not associate with the prototypical millennial. In contrast, I tend to be an intensely private individual. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I derive very little satisfaction from participation in social media.
But my personal feelings are irrelevant when it comes to business; My fiduciary responsibilities as an Internet business owner necessitate that I maintain a rather deep understanding of social media and the trends in this space.
I believe that the best way to learn about something is to roll up your sleeves and jump right in. So, with that in mind, I recently forced myself to participate in social media beyond my natural comfort levels. I posted many photos of my recent travels and experimented with several different things to see how people were responding… What people did and did not “Like”.
What I wasn’t really prepared for were the kind of strange emotions, feelings and in some cases physical pain during and after my use of social media.
It’s incredibly difficult to explain the feelings, however drawing on personal life experiences, they felt tantamount to stress, depression and withdrawal symptoms. I also noticed that my mood was very volatile (even more-so than normal); with susceptibility to erratic swings in emotions, from great satisfaction to disappointment, sadness and a diminished sense of self-worth if something I posted wasn’t received enthusiastically.
I’ve even gotten sweats (getting hot and bothered by it, often accompanied a feeling of pressure pains in my head – that’s the physical pain component.)
Much has been said in recent month of the potential ill-consequences of social media use, or at least excessive use thereof, i.e. how it’s causing neurological pathway rewiring, or how certain actions – such as getting “likes” – trigger reward mechanisms in the brain; thus creating addiction.
I won’t pontificate to others about social media because everybody is different and entitled to live their lives as they so choose. However, social media its current form – and in particular Facebook and Instagram – are what I consider to be Psychological Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Perhaps the youth of today will thrive on Social Media with no long-term consequences. But I doubt it. I am no expert in his space, but my personal prognostication is that we will continue to see a decline in mental health among younger individuals, with a rise in the prevalence rates of conditions such as schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Bi-polar, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), etc. (I also suspect that STD infection rates will rise, but the topic of heightened promiscuity vis-à-vis social media is one for another day.)
For me personally, social media is a plight that only makes me feel worse about myself… I will not embrace such a thing into my personal life.
Oh by the way – add me on Facebook. LOL. JK.