Is Being a Social Media Addict Ruining My Relationships?

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Before bed, as soon as I wake up, walking to class, in class, and while studying I’m on my phone.  No it’s not because I am constantly having text conversations with every person I know.  It’s because I am checking social media, whether that’s Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram.  Thankfully I haven’t jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, yet.  I am compelled, against my better judgement, to check these sites at any chance I get.  I can’t help it.  Whether it’s scrolling through my feed or keeping up “snap streaks”, I’ve got to do it.  But what’s the cost of this habit? Are the likes and streaks worth it?

I am in no way advocating for abstaining from the usage of social media nor am I blaming it for any of my ensuing problems.  I am not calling for an end of all social media, I am instead exploring the effects it has on my life. With that, I can say my addiction to social media has a direct impact on my relationship with academics.  It is not especially conducive to learning.  Each time I find myself browsing the explore page of Instagram, I am losing out on precious minutes of lecture.  I am creating more work for later.  I find that when lecture is over, I don’t know what was just covered or I do in a very vague sense.  I know I am not fully processing anything, yet I still do it.  I choose to be frantically cramming nights before the midterm instead of learning over an extended period and keeping with the lecture schedule. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Social media unfortunately helped me develop a worsening case of procrastination.  Ironically, I took a break from writing this article to check Facebook.  I know, I am not helping my case.  Social media also assists in the development of “fomo”.  For those of you that don’t know, “fomo” is the fear of missing out.  It is the fear of not doing what cool and awesome thing seemingly everyone else is doing.  Watching all my friend’s snapstories on a Friday night can easily lead me to question why I am at home studying or watching a movie on my laptop.  Am I doing college wrong?  What am I doing with my life?  These questions and more run through my mind as I feel a sense of inadequacy.  There's the feeling that you must know what all your friends are doing all the time.  With all the ways we can share pictures and videos, our lives are more public now than they have been before.  I find myself constantly looking for content to post on Instagram, to “up my feed”.  But not just anything of course, only things that work with my theme and I’ve got to include pictures of myself because that’s what is the most “liked”.  Driving to the city for pictures is not a bad thing, but if it is the only reason you go it might be.  I don’t want to live by my ‘gram.  I want to do things for the sake of doing them, not for how many likes I get.  Social media has dictated what I do. 

But social media can be good.  It’s a way to keep in touch with friends, especially those who live across the country or even just in another city.  We regularly tag each other in cool Facebook posts or interesting Instagram pictures.  Snapchats consist of us showing what mundane activities we’re up to and feel as though we’re still apart of each other’s’ lives even though we haven’t been face to face in months.  I keep in contact with my family daily through social media, our bond has never been stronger.  Social media is a quicker form of communication for us, even quicker than a text.  A picture truly can be worth a thousand words.  Though this has helped my relationships with family and friends, it in no way substitutes real, physical interaction.  Nothing will ever be able to truly replace that.

Social media isn’t all bad.  Yes, it has negatively impacted some of my relationships and has worsened some of my bad habits.  But the ease of communication it offers helps restore and maintain friendships and relationships; it’s especially vital to long distance relationships.  It’s something that I want to have in my life, I don’t see it leaving anytime soon, but I want in moderation.  I want a balance, a healthy relationship with it.  After all, everything is good in moderation.