Interpersonal Communication, Lifestyle, Research Findings , , , , , , , ,

Consider this: Social Media and Cocaine have something in common

By Khou Xiong

This recent Upstream post stated that there has been a recent exodus of Facebook users and shared the Huffington post article that listed a variety of reasons for why Facebook users should abandon their Facebook account to pursue other social media platforms.

Considering the rapid changes in how social media is being used, it is not surprising that this shift is occurring, despite a recent 2013 report by the Pew Research Internet Project that Facebook is the most popular social media platform.

The previously mentioned post specifically discussed the “crushing weight of comparison” that occurs over Facebook. This infographic further describes the negative impacts that Facebook and other social media sites can have on individuals.

The infographic starts out with the question, “Is Social Media Bad for Your health?” and ends with a clear directive for you to “Sign off of social media, and sign on to a healthier you”.

While the sources of the evidence presented in the infographic are not clearly listed, most people will likely agree with the messages it is trying to communicate:

  • Social media is extremely time-consuming
  • One’s mental health can be negatively affected by social media
  • Social media interferes with everyday life
  • Time spent on social media could be better used doing other things, such as exercise

Most alarming however, is the evidence that social media has an addictive component.  The infographic reveals that self-disclosure on social media activates the same part of the brain that is activated during cocaine use!  This part of the brain, the Nucleus Accumbens, is also associated with addiction and the sensation of pleasure.

It is a scary thought to consider that social media has the potential to negatively impact our lives in destructive ways. Yet, even when armored with this knowledge, the irresistible sense of pleasure that is activated when using social media will lure us to continue consuming social media.

I do not believe that social media is evil and am not advocating for the end of social media use.  However, I would encourage social media users to reflect on how is has affected your life.

Does spending time on Facebook make you feel bad about yourself? Has it interfered with your personal and/or professional relationships?  Does it take up too much of your time?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, consider making a lifestyle change and reduce your social media use.  As the infographic suggests, time spent on social media can be used for exercise instead. This could result in an overall healthier lifestyle.

  • ssschmit

    Wow, what a cool infographic! It is amazing just how much time we spend on social media, and how potentially damaging that could be.

    I feel like for those of us who have a million things going on, Facebook is really the perfect storm – it is incredibly easy to just log in and be distracted for hours, when we should be doing something else. And then, as you point out, when you think of how much time you'd have to be doing other things (including sleep!) rather than wasting it on social media, it's pretty convicting.

    Not sure if I'm ready to close my Facebook account, but definitely will be reducing time spent on it. Thanks for posting!

  • Smazzucca926

    I agree- great infographic! Sometimes I feel like I'm "immune" to the negative aspects of social media, but I definitely notice that I'm more present in my life when I'm not distracted by Facebook. I'm also not ready to close my account, but I will be more cautious of when I need to cut back!