Social media usage has reached epic levels in our society. Every second of every day millions of people worldwide are publishing information about their lives. The most striking thing is that millions of other people are reading and commenting on these posts.
President Trump is an active social media buff. He attacks and counter attacks others with tweets much to the dismay of his staff and many Americans. In fact many say that the president is abusing this means of communication right along with his fellow Americans.
What are the symptoms of abuse? Is social media usage becoming an obsession rivaling alcohol and sexual abuse? Will entrepreneurial psychologists and psychiatrists open clinics someday to help people addicted to social media? I think it’s likely.
This is how I would define social media abuse? If you need to be connected 24 hours a day to ensure you never miss an “important” text, your are hooked. It means that when you are driving a car, you must stay online to respond to developments in your community of friends even if the odds of getting into an accident increases exponentially. If you are unable to complete your work on the job because of constant social media devise usage, you are hooked. If you endanger others because you are online (while caring for children, for instance), you are hooked. If you cannot sit through a meal with family or friends without resorting to your social media devise, you are hooked.
How might your family, friends and business associates respond to your abusive use of social media? At home, your mother, father, siblings, partner or children may begin to feel you don’t care about them. They might indicate that you are detached and spending far too much time texting.
At work, your supervisors might object to the amount of time that you spend online rather than working and earning your salary.
In social situations, the friends you are sitting with might object to the attention you are giving to other friends who are not present.
The benefits of social media have been documented countless times. The cellphone is an important means of communication these days. If you have a problem, a flat tire, injure yourself, witness a crime or your children need help, the cell can be a lifesaver. It’s the social aspect of it that’s beginning rub some the wrong way.
My question is how much of social media is a waste of time? I’m referring to both ends of a post. You have a texter at a restaurant eating a great meal. Is anyone really interested in seeing a picture of the steak he is about to dig into? I suppose so, if the food is extraordinary for some reason, a picture text might be nice.
If you wake up in the morning and you are happy or sad, are your contacts really interested in an essay about your state of mind? Not I.
And heaven forbid that your friends don’t click “like” on a post. It would be an insult and reason for you to not click “like” the next time the offender posts an item, which will likely be less than ten minutes later.
Another inane activity is collecting contacts. Just because someone agrees to be a text pal does not mean they are your friend and interested in your stupid and idiotic posts . The number of people in a contact list is not indicative of one’s popularity.
Parents have enabled their children at young ages to become abusive users of social media taking away time for school work, reading, family time and face to face social interaction. Many young people have become idiot savants, experts at communicating via social media and incapable of living their lives.
What’s the solution to this growing problem? There is no way to stem the tide of social media. It’s already baked into our society. We must be diligent with our children and each other. In social settings, like the theater, in classrooms and at religious ceremonies phones should be turned off.
And then there are the risks affiliated with privacy that are beginning to get the attention of our government. It’s unwise to pour your heart out on social media. There are more than a few creeps trolling the airwaves looking for ways to cheat and torment innocent people that say too much about their private lives.
I suppose it’s going to be difficult to manage this process given that the president of the United States is hooked on social media.