We humans tend to equate who we are with what we do. One of the first things out of our mouth when we meet someone is, “So, what do you do?” It’s so normal to make this connective inquiry that it is almost considered rude when you fail to do so. We do to feel alive. Sure, we do for money, but even more than that, we work to prove our worth.
These days our speeding bullet of technological advance has given us these bright shiny new ways to reinforce our sense of worth as quickly as we can type and press SEND. Now we can flood our circle of friends and acquaintances with minute by minute reminders that we are here. I wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the medical community to name the syndrome. Perhaps SMASH1 or SQUATS2. Whatever we want to call it, and however silly, humorous or insignificant it may seem on the surface, those of us who are in the matrix of connected culture truly are affected by it. Don’t think so? Turn it off. Not so easy, huh?
If you feel anxious at the thought of being separated from something, you are experiencing the primary evidence of dependence. The more intense your anxiety, the stronger the dependence. Dependence is not necessarily bad. But it always comes at a price.
You have to ask yourself if the dependence is healthy in terms of your overall quality of life. Edan Lepucki asked herself that question, then decided to do a little test. After ninety days without Twitter and Facebook, she had noticed a big difference. She decided to let the test continue a while.
When friends asked (face to face) about her separation experiment, they would often indicate they felt they too should disconnect in order to regain some control over their time and lives. But they rarely followed through.
“When I assured them a detox was easy to do, they weren’t convinced. Or they said, “Okay, yes, next month. I’ll try it.” And then they wouldn’t. It saddened me to see all these people, chained to their online lives, posting flattering photos of themselves, “liking” a funny status update, posting or retweeting a link. It’s a never-ending race to remind others that we’re here, that we exist.”
The feedback from social media is fantastic. It’s immediate, it’s easy and it’s socially acceptable by its very nature. It’s also real. It takes time. It has mass.
I must ask myself: Are the things I create using social media worth what I spend to create them? More simply, is it worth my time? That is the bottom line, isn’t it? Can I truly measure the cost of social media and the influence of other technology in my daily life? Do I see it as it is, or only as I want it to be?
Make sure what you get is worth what you pay . . . today and tomorrow.
Reference: The Millions : Ceasing to Exist: Three Months in the Social Media Detox Ward.
1 Social Media Addiction Syndromic Helplessness
2 Symbiotic Qwerty Umbilification And Tethering Syndrome