For the first time, I updated my relationship status to ‘In a Relationship’ on Facebook. I thought that was something my 5000 friends had to know. After all, I was quite proud of my ‘thickaz’. I can recall popping out of my shell to post a few pics of her, just to let them other brothers know she’s mine. I fell into the social media trap because VERY shortly afterwards ‘Joe Grine’ came and claimed ownership of the same plot of land. It is quite likely he was already a squatter before I was booted. With my tail between my legs, I walked away, leaving my followers hanging. Don’t they deserve to know the end of the story? Shouldn’t I update the participants in my ‘DM’ that it is okay to start trying again? No. But years later I was posting pictures of my next accomplishment. My PhD in Biochemistry (High Commendation). Like a real fassy. That is the social media life, all pleasure, no pain. I was not the only one doing this. Those I followed did the same and that is the big problem with social media.
It brought great pleasure to see people succeed. But then I started to do some self-reflection and I realize that even with years of studies and with very hard work I could not experience life in the manner they did. There is no way I could afford to do the things they do, travel as frequently, buy houses, nice cars and so on. I do appreciate all I have and I am satisfied. However, seeing all the success around you can make you feel less successful than you are and this is how social media can cause anxiety or depression.
Months ago I downloaded an app called Tik Tok, yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Tik Tok quickly realized that I like a certain thing and it kept feeding me with it non-stop! I am particularly fond of ladies with very distinct packages and it is pleasing to admire these packages every once in a while. But with Tik Tok it is packages, packages and more packages. No matter how much I swipe they kept coming rounder wider and bigger. Have me wishing I could ship those packages with Amazon. I love big packages, I cannot lie. I soon realized that I can easily waste half of an hour assessing packages. It was the same situation with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
So What is The Problem?
All these platforms are designed to keep you scrolling. Feeding you with information that they know you want to see first. The more you scroll the better it gets at understanding you.
Isn’t it interesting that such an awesome tool is made available to you for free? It is ‘free’ because you are the product. The design of the social media platform allows for constant engagements with advertisers. I don’t have a problem with the business design of these platforms, but I have a problem with the mental implications it has on the people who use them. Have you ever been in a position where you pick up your phone even when there is no notification, just check if there’s something that you’re missing? If so then you are likely addicted and like all addictive drugs it is hard to get off. I have also noticed that with the addition of statuses on WhatsApp you are constantly scrolling through statuses to be up-to-date with friends activities. This can become time-consuming, addictive and reduces productivity. Social media has been proven to cause depression, a serious mental issue plaguing society today. Social media can be useful if used for business. Produce goods or services with the aim of making money while advertising on the sites. The sites already have the tools to push your products to the people who are interested.
I have decided to take advantage of these platforms and to be a producer instead of a consumer. That way I save time and I’m making products. That’s a more worthwhile use of my time. My new social media are now all affiliated with the name ‘Life of a Jamaican’ or ‘LOAJ’ and allows me to share only content I create.
Tips for Using Social Media
Number 1 – Do not allow WhatsApp have access to your contacts. This way you will not be able to see statuses.
Number 2 – Use WhatsApp during working hours only. If someone really needs to contact you otherwise they will call using credit. I started doing this on the weekends and it has been wonderful. I am not available via WhatsApp on the weekends and with that time saved I can resume my Sunday blogs here. See!
Number 3 – Mute all groups and silence notifications. This is the beginning of your addiction. Hearing your phone go off constantly is the primary ingredient for anxiety.
Number 4 – Schedule specific times for social media use decreasing this time each week.
Number 5 – Subscribe to persons who provide meaningful or educational posts. To be frank, the only social media you need is my Sunday blogs right here 😉.
The most successful people I know personally today either do not use social media or they pay people to manage their accounts. Maybe they were on to something long ago. Try it.