Somehow, in the midst of complaining about never having enough time or not getting eight hours of sleep, we’ve found the time to use social media for two hours a day.
Two hours is a little generous too. In 2018, the average person spent 136 minutes per day on social media — a figure that has consistently risen each year, according to Statistica.
We spend more time seeing how many likes we got, how many followers we’ve gained, how many views our stories have than we spend caring about who actually liked the photo and who wants to follow your account. We focus on the quantifications more-so than actual connections.
If we’re not guilty of it ourselves, we’ve all witnessed the quantification of social media in our lives. It’s in your friend announcing to a room full of people that they’ve just posted on Instagram, insinuating you all should go like it. It’s that feeling of validation you get when your selfie has reached its peak number of likes or when an influencer follows you back. It’s another user’s high follower count influencing your perception of their post. And it’s in that moment when you decide a tweet with 10,000 retweets is somehow more valuable than one with 10.
We’ve let social media metrics determine what we write, what we delete, what we post, who we follow and what’s cool.
But, are the negative effects of social media worth it? 72% percent of us think so, using social media on a daily basis. At least, we’re enabling that behavior by using it everyday.
Now, going without social media is a bold choice in today's technology-driven society. A recent study observed University of Pennsylvania students’ social media usage for four weeks and had an experimental group limited to 10 minutes on each social media platform per day and a control group with no restrictions.
The study found that both groups reported a decrease in anxiety and fear of missing out; even the group that used social media however it willed. Being conscious of social media usage alone leads to healthier usage, the study suggests.
Going cold turkey on social media isn’t a reality most of us can go with. It’s been ingrained in our way of living since we were kids. But we need to check our habits. Social media shouldn’t make us feel bad. It shouldn’t make you feel like you’re missing out.
Social media is supposed to be about connecting, not comparing. We’ve somehow lost sight of that in our need to feel important.
Next time you're scrolling through all your social media timelines, just keep in mind that social media is a highlight reel — remember that.