Can you imagine there is actually a "test" online that allegedly makes a "rough assessment" of your "Facebook Addiction." Harvard University found that when engaged in social networking, the nucleus accumbens is activated. This is the same region of the brain that lights up when someone uses cocaine or other drugs.
It's all about brain stimulation or "seeking behavior" that's seeking primarily one thing -- who wants ME? For the 72 percent of adults online who use social networking sites, they spend about 23 hours a week emailing, texting and using social media and other types of online communication. This is nearly 14 percent of total time in a week!
That's why I call it "SO ME." It's the essence of SOcial MEdia. It's not really social. It's SO ME. Selfies and all. About 38 percent of SO ME users check their SO ME networks as soon as they wake up and before they check email. One study from the University of Salford reported by Media Bistro found that 50 percent of SO ME users said that Facebook and Twitter made their lives worse. Yet posting what you think, pictures of yourself, your "likes," activates part of the brain that is associated with the sensation of pleasure, just as we get from eating or having sex. SO ME is what gets us hooked. Those who's lives are made worse? Maybe they don't like the reflection they see.
We pay a price for this. We have far less tolerance for anything that's even slightly lackluster and unexciting. Dreary moments are filled with checking in on "status updates." STATUS. "What's MY status update?" Alone with yourself? Not good anymore because we've learned that we aren't good anymore, unless our status has updated. Think about that. And while you are at it, think about why there are so many articles making everyone feel good about how wonderful social media really is?
"Staying in touch" is a misnomer. Touch? What touch? Touch means two people connecting in some way. Sometimes, even face to face, er, I mean #IRL. Texting, emailing, posting, are about ME, not conversing about the other person. Face-to-face, IRL, means having to share space. There's no place or time to drift, or to scan different sites. Full attention to anyone else detracts from SO ME. And SO ME, affirmation, is what it's about. Am I okay? Am I attractive? Do people like me? How many "friends" do I have, and is that number more than you have?
It's time to change SOcial MEdia into SOcial WEdia...how can the ME turn into WE and truly make it social? Balance is an answer. After all, all of this time on ME is replacing something isn't it?
1. What's your specific goal in using social technology?
2. How does the way you use the power of social technology promote WE? ME?
3. Are you a victim of social technology overload--how does it use you?
4. If so, what do you need to do to choose to use it instead of responding to its allure and seductive buzz?
5. What barriers are in your way to create more actual WE in your use of social technology?
Answer these questions and you are on the way to healthy social WEdia, real social interaction based on sharing, empathy, compassion for others, kindness, consideration, and sensitivity.