97. Social Media Is Soul Sucking (oops…did we say that out loud?)

Facebook, Twitter, Insta, Snapchat…we are drawn social media it like moths to a flame – yet we always get zapped. 

The research tells us we are using social media at work – and often for our own purposes, such as taking a break to check in with friends on Instagram or to manage our own on-line presence.  Getting distracted by social media at work is a real thing – some of us can get back to work in 20 minutes, but others take two hours to return to the original task.  

How we present ourselves can often influence our prospects to get a job.  Profanity, bad grammar, reference to illegal drugs, alcohol use and secual content are among the things that deter a potential employer for making a hire.

Why do we do this – well, the brain science says social media triggers the same parts of our brain that are triggered by other addictions such as gambling or alcoholism.

There is disagreement about whether social media is good or bad – and of course, there really is not an answer because it is both good and bad.  The good is that we can be inspired and informed by social media.  Did you find a great hike you want to take because you saw a picture on Insta?  Did something on Twitter alert you about something you could do for a positive change in the world?  So many things that can enrich our lives come from social media.

The bad of social media is that it encourages the false self – we do not disclose all of ourselves nor do others disclose all of themselves.  We end up believing that everyone is perfectly coiffed and engaged in a meaningful or fun activity, which is a false narrative.  The studies on social media report that it generally makes us feel more stress, particularly women, it lowers our mood, increases anxiety and depression, interferes with our sleep and lowers our self-esteem.  It dresses our well-being, interferes with relationships.  Social media also fosters negative emotions such as envy, belonging and loneliness.

Here are some helpful strategies to make the most of social media without it making the worst of us:

  • Consider the source – are you in a great SnapChat group with dear friends? Are you looking for fun ideas for a vacation?
  • Set limits and know when to stop
  • Use social media to connect with people who inspire you, share interests provide a sense of belonging 
  • Negative Emotions are warning signs it may be time to unfollow or sign off
  • Try a social media fast – you may surprised how hollow it feels on your return