“What you doing? Where you at? Oh, you got plans? Don’t say that. I’m sipping wine, sip sip, in a robe, drip, drip, I look too good, to be…”. Scroll. “I’ma pick you up in a Cadillac, Like a gentleman, bringin’…”. Scroll. “My bestie and your bestie sit down by di fire. Your bestie say she wan’ party, so can we make these flames go higher? Talkin’ hey now…”. Scroll. “Sometimes all I think about is you, late night in the middle of….”. Scroll.
If you could finish the lyrics of at least half of these songs, you have probably fallen into Instagram’s and TikTok’s reel trap before. Just “five more minutes” and whoop, half an hour is gone. No judging, because, let’s be honest, we have all been there! There is little that has shaped and influenced our generation and modern lifestyle as much as social media did. Social media can be indeed a great tool: It helps us to keep in touch with our beloved ones, to find friends all over the globe, to be creative, to inspire and get inspired, to spread awareness, get active, to do business, to make connections, and so much more. However, the list of the downside isn’t any shorter: From distraction to obsession to addiction, the seek for confirmation in form of likes and comments, being constantly available for everyone, misusage of anonymity, cyberbullying, mental disorders, fake news, losing grasp for reality, physical damage, and so on. The relationship many share with social media is very alike to the ones we see in “Crazy, Stupid, Love”: a lot of hate, a lot of love, and a tremendous toxic touch. Through an anonym survey, we have asked around forty people about their personal relationship to social media with fairly interesting results. To be on the same page, I will give you a brief summary!
Question 1: How much time a day do you spend on social media? --> Less than 30 minutes (0%), Less than an hour (2,8%), 1-2 hours (22,2%), 2-3 hours (30,6%), 3-4 hours (27,8%), More than 4 hours (16,7%) Question 2: On which social media platform do you spend the most time? --> Instagram (33,3%), WhatsApp (30,6%), TikTok (27,8%), Twitter (5,6%), Different (2,8%) Question 3: Could you imagine a life without social media? --> Yes (33,3%), No (66,7%) Question 4: Do you think social media has a big influence on your life? --> Yes (77,8%), No (22,2%) Question 5: Generally speaking, do you actually like social media? --> Yes (58,3%), No (38,9%), Prefer not to say (2,8%)
What is the first thing you have noticed about these numbers? The great amount of time we spend on social media? The fact that the majority of participants can’t imagine a life without? Or that there are so many people who actually don’t even like WhatsApp, Instagram and co.? Personally, I was little surprised by the amount of time we spend on social media. Latest after watching the movie “The social dilemma” one can hardly deny that they are designed to be addictive. But what actually is so addictive about it? For one thing, the algorithm tracks all your data and activities and knows exactly what you like. Secondly, scrolling through the feed or reels, triggers dopamine which mediates pleasure and stimulates us to repeat the pleasurable action. Thus, we keep scrolling and swiping to find something that stimulates the releasement of dopamine once more. What truly astonished me about the numbers of our survey, is the gap between 38,9% saying they dislike social media and only 22,2% indicating, their life is not greatly influenced by social media. This gap implies that the lives of so many people are influenced by something they actually do not like. To prevent this from happening, it is highly important to use social media wisely and responsibly. Something that always helps me when I notice the social media trap is striking again, is to remember why this is actually happening, meaning the processes going on in my brain. However, there are multiple ways how to deal with this and you can find them all, guess where, online. Try to find the method that suits you best, and keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with asking for professional help. Social media is indeed one of our greatest innovations, as long as we use it as a tool and have control over it, not the other way around.
Be smarter than the algorithm. And follow @esn_groningen.
Written by Elli Winetsdorfer