Ever felt depressed or lonely and sent out a text saying ‘Hi’ to around 10 people on your WhatsApp contacts? Ever wondered why getting a response makes you feel good?Engaging with social media releases a chemical in the body called Dopamine. It’s the same chemical that is released when we drink, smoke, or gamble. The average social media user spends around three hours a day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 18 percent users cannot go for a stretch of three hours without checking their Facebook account.So, are you addicted to social media?
Signs that prove that you may be addicted to Social Media
- You feel a compulsive need to click pictures of the food you’re going have so that you can upload the picture on Instagram. You make your friends and family wait at the table and emotionally blackmail them not to touch the food before you’ve clicked 5 pictures of each food item from 5 different angles. While the food may turn cold while you’re adding all the filters and uploading the picture on Instagram and in the end, it may not even satisfy you, but the number of likes on the picture fill your stomach quite well at the end, don’t they?
- The first thing you do after waking up is to check your phone. You don’t get out of bed, wear your spectacles and wash your face. You just turn around, reach for your phone, and check your WhatsApp messages, Facebook notifications and Instagram likes. Once you are done with all that, you may just acknowledge the presence of your family.
- You greet friends at a party using their Twitter handle. ‘Hey @imRealSharma What’s up man?’. And you have no clue what their real name is. You don’t bother asking because well, you’ll just check it up on Twitter.
- You have to go to the toilet. And that gives you around half a minute to check your notifications and likes. If you find yourself checking your Instagram likes or reply on Snapchat while in the toilet, you are definitely addicted to social media.
- The usual satisfactory response to a joke would be a laugh. It confirms that the joke has served its purpose. However, the trend has been changing. If you are one of the people changing the trend, the ones who say ‘lol’ in response to a joke, we fear the worst for you.
- You use the term hashtag in your normal daily conversations. Someone fails at something and the words ‘Hashtag Fail’ fly out of your mouth before you can think about what you’re saying. If this happens, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to book an appointment for being addicted to social media.
- Everywhere you go, you just have to let everyone know where you are. And hence, you keep ‘checking in’ to different places. ‘Check in’ to PVR Cinemas while going for a movie. ‘Check in’ to Punjabi by nature to let everyone know that you’re going to overeat and have a bad stomach the following day.
- You’re going out with your family, or friends, or even on a date to have dinner at a great restaurant and everyone expects it to be a fun evening, but the moment you get there, you take out your phone and start checking your accounts instead. It seems so much more fun to be discussing with your friends about the amazing restaurant you’re at, rather than actually talking to the people with you right there and then. And you may not check your phone all the time, but it’s always there on the table next to your plate, and if it buzzes, the food and people can take a break.
- While clicking pictures become a priority, that still remains the easy part. Your head goes for a spin when deciding on a caption. You may not even upload a couple of your best pictures because there is no apt caption for it. It is a struggle to keep up with the times and maintain a mixture of words and hashtags that may be approved by your ‘friends’.
- And the worst thing that can ever happen to you is NO WIFI. It is the slowest and most excruciating torture that you have ever gone through. It makes you shudder, sends a chill done your spine and fills your nightmares. The helplessness of not being able to communicate with your 500 Facebook friends, not being able to know how many likes you now have on your latest Instagram picture, not being able to ‘check in’ wherever you are and only having your family to talk to in person is a situation that leaves you depressed and time seems to go by very slow. And at that moment you decide that when the torture does come to an end, the first thing you will do is let all your social media friends know about the tragedy you’ve been through.
If you find that you can relate to a few of these signs, you may want to throw your phone far away, sit down and introspect, for you have been hit by the widespread disease and are a part of the large fraction of people to be addicted to social media.
Written by Divyendu Shekhar