Society - Written by Naumi Haque on Thursday, June 3, 2010 15:05 - 8 Comments
Are you addicted to social media?
Last year, former Wikinomics blogger Jeff Perron interviewed Jim Stolze on the virtues of social interaction on the web, posing the rather esoteric question: Does the web make us happy? Related to this, I recently came across a great series of info-graphics from Retrevo that suggest that, while the web may indeed make some if us happy—enough to interrupt us during sex—it may not be a healthy diversion. Much like smoking a cigarette in an episode of Mad Men, social media has become a pervasive part of all our everyday activities, from eating, to sleeping, to using the washroom.
What are the signs of addiction? According to Mayo Clinic, “As your drug use increases, you may find that it becomes increasingly difficult to go without the drug. Stopping may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms).” I’m guessing that includes ‘taking’ fist thing in the morning, or even in the middle of the night.
In fact, nGenera’s Net Generation study from a couple of years ago backs up what the Retrevo study is implying. We asked teenagers to depict visually how they would feel if technology was taken away from them for a month. The results are what you might expect. If not addicted, young people (and I imagine people of all ages) are certainly dependent on technology for entertainment, inclusion, belonging, and sense-making:
In a related study on parenting and social media, Retrevo finds that the vast majority of parents—over 70%—allow their kids to text during family meals. Personally, this is a problem for me, but then again I came from a generation of kids that was told to ignore the phone (the corded one attached to the wall) during mealtime and ask to be excused from the table after dinner. Still, if you think social media addiction is bad now, this type of behaviour means it’s probably just going to get worse from here on in.
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