7 Warning Signs that Social Media Is Ruining Your Life

I might be biting the hand that feeds me…but after one year of being on social media I see some major warning signs.

I had a thought the other day as I watched the person in the car next to me attempt to drive and navigate their smart phone.

My thought—they probably aren’t “texting”. They are updating their Facebook status, tweeting, instagraming, snap chatting (or whatever the latest new thing teenagers are doing). In their mind none of that is texting!

If you didn’t already know, just a little over one year ago I was not on any social media. Not Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, NOTHING. I know, how did I survive without knowing what the world was doing. How did anyone keep up with me?

I had successfully avoided all social media.

Why am I now submerged in this world?

To build a platform. When I decided to begin writing, I quickly learned that connecting via social media is a necessity.

So around December 2012, I opened accounts with the big ones—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. I am considering Instagram and YouTube, but I am not sure how I can handle more.

The past 14 months provided a good sample size to see the negatives and positives of social media.

Here are a few warning signs that social media is ruining our lives. To be fair, maybe I will post a blog later about how social media helps us.

Virtual relationships.

One article I read called it a false sense of connection. We think we know people simply by browsing their photos or reading about their activities. But do we have meaningful conversation when we are with that person in real life, if we even know them in real life? Sometimes we don’t know them anymore than some movie or TV star that we watch but feel some strange kind of connection.

Comparing your worst with their best.

I know for some sharing life on social media is fun. But for many it causes a depressing reaction. I call it the “perpetual Christmas letter syndrome”.  You know what I mean. 99% of Christmas letters share only the good things that happened during the course of the past year. What people share on social media usually is the same.

Some people spend hours reading and looking at what other people post about their lives wondering why their life isn’t as wonderful and exciting.

Lack of productivity. 

How many times did you check social media today? Were you at work? Were you supposed to be doing something else? Could you have done something else more productive? I know painful questions, but social media might be ruining your productivity.

Being offended or offending.

Here is how this goes down—You are browsing your News Feed on Facebook and Bam! You see a post that has a picture of several friends or family members doing something fun together and you were not invited!

I am sure that in most cases it is an innocent thing to do. However, for some it creates a feeling of being left out, not being a part of the “in” crowd. Sounds eerily familiar to my high school years.

Lack of privacy.

Social media is quickly erasing our privacy, whether we want it to happen or not. Some choose to post every detail about their life online some of it to their own detriment.

Most perspective employers check out a person’s social media presence as a part of the interview process.

Even if I choose not to post story or picture of myself or family, someone else can easily do it without my permission. Some seem to find it hard to understand that not all of us want everything about our lives posted online.

Loss of communication skills.

How many times have you been in a room with other people, not just teenagers, and most are staring at some kind of screen. Most likely they are checking social media.

We are losing our ability to talk to each other face to face. If you want to spend time with me, please resist the urge to check your Facebook or Twitter account.

Addiction.

People bristle if you seriously tell them that their action looks like an addiction. All kinds of defense mechanisms sound-off that only reinforce the probability they are in fact addicted.

The list above point to the probability of addiction, but don’t take my word for it.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.American Society of Addiction Medicine

Like I already said, I know that social media has some positive attributes. However, I am noticing more and more destructive tendencies related to its use or abuse.

What are some other warning signs that you notice? Or, if you want to talk about the positive aspects of social media, please leave your comment.

I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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