I was reading about how social media usage can make us perceive that we’re socially isolated, and that we’re disconnected from the world around us while I was perusing Psychology Today earlier this week.
Earlier this week I touched how I think that social media usage can lead you to feel an increased sense of boredom because you’re constantly exposing yourself to human highlight reels. I also feel as though increased social media usage can lead to less authentic social interactions, or at the very least it can lead to a decrease in the quality of your social interactions. Personally, I can tell you that I much prefer receiving texts and phone calls from friends rather than tweets or Twitter DMs.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own social circle that we miss out on the world around us. In particular, the author discussed the time that world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell performed in an metro station in Washington, D.C. and that only 7 of the 1,097 people who passed by him stopped to listen to him over the course of his hour long performance. It reminded me of when I took a recent day trip to Toronto last month, and I encountered a man playing the cello in the lobby of Brookfield Place on a late Friday afternoon. Without my phone in hand, I stopped and took in the performance that I randomly stumbled upon and enjoyed the unexpected moment.
I do think that we need to be able to unitask as the author calls it. I can’t tell you the last time that I drove to or from work without focusing on the upcoming work day, or just wishing that I’d just get to my destination already when I’d really prefer to just focus on the task at hand of driving, and enjoy the present moment fully.
Over the past several months, I’ve curtailed my social media usage and I feel a greater sense of life quality as a result than I did when I was using social media regularly and consistently. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with enjoying a lot of social media usage. But there’s a lot of days where when I get home from work, I set my phone on my nightstand and don’t even look at it until just before I go to bed. Social media is a great asset to have, don’t get me wrong, but for me I like to use it certain doses and for certain uses. At this point, I really like to use Twitter for breaking news updates rather than for interacting with close friends of mine when I can just call or text them directly.
My main takeaways for you are as follows:
- Enjoy your surroundings and the present moment
- Be able to unitask instead of multitask
- Use social media in appropriate dosages
- Better understand your feelings and perceptions of boredom, social isolation, and disconnect
- Put your phone away sometimes
In case you’re curious, here are links to the articles that I read about social media on Psychology Today.