Guilty! I, too, enjoy a good frolic on my social media accounts. From occasionally scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, to posting new photos on my Instagram, and even keeping up with family and friends on Snapchat.
Let’s be honest, many of us enjoy the instant-glam filters! We can also connect with hundreds, if not thousands, of people with one like, one upload, one share. It is actually fascinating. But how connected are we? Are we actually even connected at all?
I myself use social media as a medium to inspire others and also to glean inspiration from others, too. But there are also pitfalls in our infatuation with a superbly “connected” world. The amount of time we devote to various social media circuits is enough to make your head spin. According to the CDC Website kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day. In 2015, a media-stat company, Nielson, reported that the average American adult over the age of 18 spends more than 11 hours per day on electronic gadgets.
The currency of happiness is connection. But with the increased amount of screen time we engage in, what we are actually confronting is the erosion of connectivity through social media. Our focus should be on real connection—healthy connections of the mental and emotional world. We are also prone to being easily distracted by our gadgets and social media. We are constantly on the receiving end of some kind of notification alerting us to some thing that could absolutely wait. How many of us have been among friends or family only to find ourselves (or others) sadly captivated by our smartphone? Listen, I am the first to admit that I’ve been there many times.
Social media is not entirely without benefit. We are able to experience the cross-pollination of ideas and people. However, we must take the time to exist in our day-to-day reality, to cherish the moments that are right under our noses. Taking the time to observe the laughter of our children, the way a strand of hair may fall on your beloved’s face, the scent that rises in your home when baking banana bread…or think about all the things you can do and create instead of living vicariously through one-dimensional imagery?
How to be proactive?
Challenge yourself to a mini social media “cleanse” or “detox.” It doesn’t matter how long or short, just decide on a time frame, stick to it, and take note of how you feel. Did you have more time? Did you interact with others more in a meaningful and present way? If active on social media, you may want to turn off notifications for certain applications. Some things can wait. This brings me to my next recommendation. You can schedule social media times. Avoid social media scrolling first thing in the morning and before bed.
Join me—I’ll, too, will be starting my cleanse. I’ll be sure to share my experience with you all on the gram and fb 😉 Please comment and share your experiences, too.
The ‘actual’ world is too beautiful not to experience. Good luck—