Addiction: Social Media and People

Topics: Social media, Social network service, Sociology Pages: 10 (3982 words) Published: December 3, 2013
Addiction can be a scary word sometimes depending on the source. Most people think of drugs or alcohol when they think of addiction. But the kind of addiction I’m talking about is addiction to social media. Most people think, “It’s not that bad, right? They just like to be on their computer a lot.” People think it makes them more social because they are always talking to someone or playing games with someone. Addiction to social media, like drugs or alcohol, can be very damaging to a person. Let’s start off with some definitions, Addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors. Social Media are forms of electronic communication (such as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos). Social media addiction usually refers to someone spending way too much time using Twitter, Facebook and other types of social media. They use it so much that it interferes with the other aspects of your daily life (Walker). “(…) a social networking addict could be considered someone with a compulsion to use social media to excess--constantly checking Facebook status updates or "stalking" people's profiles on Facebook, for example, for hours on end” (Walker). She says it is hard to tell when a fondness for this activity turns into you being dependent on it and becomes a damaging habit or addiction (Walker). “Researchers at Chicago University concluded that social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes and booze following an experiment in which they recorded the cravings of several hundred people for several weeks. Media cravings ranked ahead of cravings for cigarettes and alcohol (Walker). How you know if you are addicted:

“1. Your cell phone becomes your number one accessory. If it's attached to your hip 24/7 and you wish it was waterproof and in the shower with you (…) 2. If you send a Tweet to someone and they don't @reply to you within six hours and you become anxious (…) 3. If your cell phone is with you at the dining table and everyone is texting while they're eating and no one is saying a word (…) 4. If you post a cute photo on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or other photo-sharing sites with no one liking it or sharing it, however you still keep checking every few minutes or hour (…) 5. If you stare at your Twitter followers and the count goes down and it upsets you, you could be suffering from Social Media Anxiety Disorder (SMAD)” (Spira). Julie Spira, author of The Rules of Netiquette, talks about something she likes to call “Social Media Anxiety Disorder” which is simply addiction to social media. (Spira) “While the need to connect and engage is so powerful and instant, we often have expectations that the recipient has immediately seen our digital correspondence” (Spira). Most people who are addicted assume that if someone doesn’t respond to their email, tweet or Facebook post immediately that they are either being ignored or they are mad at them, when in most cases, it is just that the other person is busy at the moment (Spira). The thing that makes social media so addicting is the social validation (Rutledge). “Facebook like is a social signal. It affirms our existence the same way that someone nodding at you on the sidewalk does” (Rutledge). The fear of missing out (FOMO) also makes it addicting because you always want to know what is going on so you don’t want to miss out. Another thing is it has an emotional attraction. Also you have a perceived value. You also have control over what you share and what you do not. So that makes people like it a lot is they think they have all this control over everything. It also can increase your self-esteem (Rutledge). “It is not surprising that people might experience an increase in self-esteem after having their social connections...

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