I see myself as a heavy-duty sleeper. I set two alarms, each fifteen minutes apart, on my phone, and when they go off, I will hit the snooze button a couple of times before actually waking up in full. Then, when I get up, I grab my phone and check all the notifications, patiently waiting for me to acknowledge. It is probably safe to assume that one of the first orders of business our generation attends to upon waking up to a new day is reconnecting ourselves to social media. We want to know what had happened to the world when we were dreaming in our sleep. It is a hard habit to curb, especially when we are conditioned to scan the net for the latest news compulsively.
If baby boomer’s addiction is cigarettes and substance abuse, then our generation’s is social media. If left unchecked, social media can do much more damage than just rendering us into Internet zombies. A glance at your Twitter feed while waiting to collect your Starbucks drink can turn your brief exposure into a difficult-to-suppress desire to tap into all the social media networks accessible to you for the whole day. There is nothing alarming about it until you consciously realise how it is affecting our generation. That overwhelming urge to refresh your feed every few seconds influences how your mind interprets information and rewriting the way you manage your social relationships.
We continuously want more.
When we find ourselves having nothing to do when we do, in fact, have things to attend to, boredom comes in. Another characteristic of our generation is our insatiable need to receive immediate societal approval and gratification. We are so glued to the urge of seeking instant gratification that we are willing to disconnect ourselves from reality instead of being in the moment. The Information era has led some to believe with confidence that making the Internet easily accessible for all is adversely affecting our capacity to interpret information objectively and stay productive. Think about it: given a car review to read, we would skip the intro and scroll down to the conclusion section instead of reading all the juicy bits between them.
We are self-proclaimed narcissists and lonely at the same time.
Reality is boring. That is why we deliberately remove ourselves from it. Social media is a place where you can give yourself the perfect persona. It motivates people to share with the globe details of their lives and their thoughts. We use the number of likes and comments to measure how popular we are in the community we engage with. The technologies that keep the Information era going forces users to communicate online instead of in person. Being around people does not guarantee that we would return to the realms of reality. Most of the time, we will continue to fidget with our smartphones without knowing that we are impolite for doing so; looking at your crush’s pictures on Instagram while your teammates are discussing how to approach an assignment is an excellent way to tell them that you are not interested in what they have to convey.
Final 2¢: You run social media, not the other way round.
Whether you like it or not, everything has become a social media tool. It is next to impossible to neglect. However, it is not the end of it all. Always take the time to appreciate the little things in life that make you smile. Send that picture of the delicious steak you have prepared at home, but do not get so obsessed with the details of the image until you forgot to savour the meal itself.