Social media is everywhere—and a huge part of our day-to-day lives. It’s not going anywhere either. But do the benefits of all this connectivity and constant chatter actually outweigh the costs? Have you even considered what costs there might be in your life and career?
Here are a handful of reasons why you should curb your constant phone use and start taking part in that old-fashioned thing we call the real world.
1. You’re Down on Yourself
Studies show that people who spend a significant amount of time on social media experience increased anxiety and decreased self-esteem. Watching everybody else’s milestones and achievements fly through your feed doesn’t make you happy for your pals, it makes you unhappy about your own (seeming) lack of accomplishment. Are these people even your friends? Are you spending more time thinking about their goal-slashing and not worrying enough about setting goals of your own?
2. You’ve Distorted Reality
And while we’re at it, all that success and joy you see on your feed from your thousands of “friends” is also highly crafted and paints a pretty rosy picture of events. Nobody’s life is as glamorous or freewheeling as Instagram and Facebook make them out to be. Just think of how many times you took that selfie to make sure it looked effortless? You’re not alone by any means. Remember that image and reality don’t always match up—and that your happiness should not depend on anybody else’s.
3. It’s Not Actually Social
You may feel less lonely, or more like you are keeping in touch with all of your friends when you’re constantly all up on their social media, but it’s not actually getting you anywhere close to real, lasting and close relationships with any of your friends. It’s just empty interaction. Your real, close friends are the ones you have actual conversations with—even on the phone or Skype if not in person. If your friends were to deactivate their accounts, would you still speak to them?
4. You’ve Become a Jerk
Are you that friend who can’t get through an entire dinner—or concert, or picnic, or party, or other hang-out situation—without spending most of the time checking their phone? And be honest—it’s not even for important work emails or personal calls or texts! This friend is scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds while you’re trying to have a conversation. It’s incredibly rude and ruins the experience for everyone. So if you’re not that friend, make sure you don’t become that friend.
5. Your Life is Public
If you don’t set boundaries and post everything that happens to you willy nilly, you forget that your entire life is not only public, but also permanently recorded in visual images and text. Just remember that safety and reputation are both important. And dial it back a bit.
6. You’re Distracted
Social media is incredibly distracting. Maybe you find yourself doing something cool; instead of enjoying the moment and being present, you’re mostly thinking how to get the perfect photo and how to phrase the perfect post. You’re starting to see the world in virtual, filtered form, rather than experiencing it. Or worse—you’ve lost touch with your life because you feel most alive when online. Or the least bored. But every hour you spend on your phone is another hour of life you’re missing out on. Think what you could accomplish in all of that accumulated time!