When I sit in a coffee shop with my friends, it’s almost impossible to see everyone around me chatting and having a lovely cup of coffee. Nowadays people stare at the screen All. The. Time.
I can easily say that 90% of the people who go out to socialize (especially in the younger generation) spend the time on their phones instead of socializing in person.
What’s interesting is that there’s nothing really “social” in social network. If you use it the way it’s not meant to be used, it has the potential to steal your time and destroy your life.
I am almost 29 years old, and I am happy to say that I didn’t grow up in a time where social media was omnipresent. Although when I was 13 years old social media platforms increased with rapid speed.
But hey! All is not bad. You can actually use the social media to benefit you.
The way the algorithm works is that you get shown what you’re most interested in. If you click funny cats and dogs you will see funny cats and dogs all day. The same goes for self-improvement. If you click on videos that are truly inspirational, you will be shown ads and videos about self-improvement. If you use that to your benefit, it’s a win-win situation. However, people don’t usually do that.
To explain a bit more, here are the 5 alarming signs that the social media destroys your life: (and how to fix it)
1. Insecurity is booming
If you follow travel pages and hauntingly beautiful Russian girls on Instagram, when you scroll your feed you’ll realize that your life sucks. All you see is flawless selfies, exotic photos of Maldives, Thailand and Seychelles. And there you are with your phone sitting at home looking at stunning places you haven’t visited. This is the illusion that the social media gives you. It’s a competition: you life sucks, mine doesn’t. I am more beautiful than you. I have more money than you.
The illusion of not having the choice to be that good, make that much money and travel all those places is making you highly insecure and demotivated. Someone is “living your dream” and you don’t.
Then you falsely believe that everything is based on luck, beauty, or money, which will lead you to be desperate and depressed.
2. Major distraction
I don’t know what’s worse: wasting our own precious time that we can never get back, or looking at the lives of other people?
If you don’t create “social” environment on your social media account that will help you grow on personal and professional level, why the hell are you using it? If you truly want to socialize you have 510.1 million km² outside of your home.
The way we see at social media today is like an “easy” fix. If you are bored you just take the phone and open Instagram. Not interested in the conversation you are having with your buddy? Just open TikTok and keep on scrolling.
Again, don’t get me wrong. Social media is brilliant if you use it as you should (we will talk about that in the last part of this article) but if you use it as a form of escapism, or simply to run away from the imperfections of your own life, then you are already in the trap.
3. Debilitating addiction
If you can’t go a few hours, or a day without it, you are addicted.
Due to the effect that it has on the brain, social media is physical and psychological addition. According to a study by Harvard University, self-disclosure on social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when taking an addictive substance.
When someone experiences something rewarding, or uses an addictive substance, neurons in the primary dopamine-producing areas in the brain are activated, causing dopamine levels to rise. Therefore, the brain receives a “reward” and associates the drug or activity with positive reinforcement.
When you get a notification, such as a like, comment or mention, the brain receives a rush of dopamine and sends it along reward pathways, causing you to feel pleasure.
Social media provides an endless amount of immediate rewards in the form of attention from others for relatively minimal effort. Therefore, the brain rewires itself through this positive reinforcement, making people desire likes, retweets, and emoticon reactions. (Source)
Overusing social media, especially if you have no profit from it, will become a debilitating addiction that will steal your time and life.
4. Social Anxiety
For someone who is prone to social anxiety, overusing social media can and will make it worse.
We use social media to connect with others (at least that was the “idea”) but the whole concept of “connecting” with others just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t have real interactions with people.
As much as we believe that we are always connected with each and every person in our life (nowadays even your grandparents have social media) we fail to realize that the more we use it the more we distance from people. Because the truth is that we are “already” connected on social media, right? Even though that’s far from the truth.
The fact is that if you’re spending an excessive amount of time on social media and feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness are impacting your life, it may be time to re-examine your online habits and find a healthier balance.
Instead, why don’t we connect outside on a bench with a cup of coffee and have real interactions with people that don’t stare at the screens?
5. Productivity killer
It’s no strange why Bill Gates and Warren Buffett accredit focus to be the most important thing about their success.
Just as I was writing this, I forgot to put away my phone and my Facebook messenger buzzed next to me. I completely lost my focus and forgot what I was trying to write.
The unrestricted usage of social media is having a negative impact on workplace productivity, as employees spend more than 32% of their time on social media every day for personal work, says a study.
We don’t just scroll, like or comment things. We waste the precious time we have on this Earth. I always say this, but we fail to realize that our time is limited. One day it’s all going to end. If you don’t use the time you have to be productive and create something meaningful in your life, you are going to waste it scrolling and imagining things you could’ve had.
How to use social media to your benefit
The algorithm works according to your needs. If you follow people or websites that doesn’t help you grow or be better, it’s your choice that you did that.
Here’s what I propose that you do right now: unfollow every page, company, or public figure that don’t offer you real value that will improve your life. When I did that, I felt like I am leftover from the rest of the world. I am not following new style trends, fashion shows, home decorations or Russian models. But here’s why that’s great: I followed every self-improvement coach and author that give me real value. I also followed influencers that share new things about marketing, dropshipping and things that help me grow my business.
The point is to create a circle that will benefit you most. Don’t consume every “sweet” thing that is posted on social media. Be selective about the things and knowledge that comes in your life. If you suck everything you see or being told about, you will roam aimlessly in fear controlled by the social media and the news.
Create your niche, nurture it, and upgrade yourself every day. That’s how you benefit from social media.