As with everything, Social Media has a positive and a negative side. The benefits and downsides can both vary for different reasons. The danger of Social Media depends on how we choose to use our accounts.
The more we utilize Social Media as an ego fix, the less spiritually fit we are.
It is no secret that technology has altered the way we behave. Normally, we check our mobile devices 100 times over a day. I would guess it’s possibly the most prevalent addicted behavior on this planet.
It might even be the quickest to spread. Smart devices did not exist just 11 years ago. Back in this unthinkable time period, a.k.a. 2006, social media barely existed. At the beginning of that year, Facebook had 5.5 million users; today, it is 2 billion. Technology’s impact and adoption rate are so fast, that the former decade seems like a prehistoric time. Technology has completely changed the way we socialize. Social Media offers previously impossible ways to display assets and our character defects. It is a monster that, in its infancy, changed our very character.
Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds are jampacked with grandstanding, self-serving spins and a few humble-brags. A good deal of lying, a lot of love for everyone, and a couple cat pics thrown in the mix. During it all, our online interactions have oddities not found in the offline world. We are at the stage, where everyone is part avatar.
Contemplating this, for us in 12-step programs, working an honest, spiritual program. We must take our online personas into an examination. No searching and fearless moral inventory is complete without analyzing our behavior in every aspect of our lives, including online.
Below are things worth considering when using Social Media.
1. Are we still creating fake personas online?
Reports show that Facebook can cause unhappiness and jealousy; a common defect of character for people in addiction. When we see photos and updates from our friends and family having seemingly the best time in the world. We think to ourselves, “Why can’t I be that happy?” Smiling children, smiling friends, and smiling newlyweds. Our Newsfeeds have become a magical place where everything and everyone is always happy and perfect.
We end up constantly spinning our life online in an attempt to join them. We give the internet audience a clean, prestige version of us. Our online personas are often exaggerated, where every post we create is always on the optimistic side. The photo’s we upload is fueled by our vanity where we only add the most appealing photo’s we can snap.
In addiction, we never showed our true self. There’s a difference between watching what we say online and creating a fake version of ourselves. We can’t afford to go back to this mindset if we want to work an honest program that is necessary for successful recovery.
2. Do we respect others, even if we don’t agree with their views?
Conflict on Social Media is everywhere and ever-present. Retorts taunt and fester. They are put out there for all your friends and family to see. They beg you to post a counter. Behind a screen, we can take our time and fire off the perfect reply, blasting the guilty culprit.
Do we intensify these situations with disagreements that belittle using our superior knowledge? Do we have to carry this spat on for hours, making sure we got the last word edged in? Do we troll for the sole purpose of continuing a conflict? Or do we respond with love? Do we respectfully disagree and let it be? How we handle these situations on Social Media is important.
Learning to accept other peoples views, regardless of whether we agree with them or not, is an important part of recovery. We need to remember that what other people say can only affect us if we choose to let it. Other people can have their own opinions, and it’s most likely not going to affect us in any meaningful way.
3. Am I constantly checking how many “likes” or comments I am getting?
Social Media is a haven for the self-absorbed and self-centered and it enhances and potentially contributes to these. According to multiple Facebook studies everytime we create a post, share, or ‘like’ we are creating an expectation and we feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self. Every time we receive a ‘like’ or response back our brain triggers that reward cycle and releases a squirt of dopamine just the same as the minute you do drugs or drink alcohol. This leaves us to focus on self, the root of our issues in recovery. Studies have shown it can also lead to feelings of increased loneliness and isolation when we don’t receive enough likes back on our posts that we feel inclined to.
It’s important to remember what you see on social media isn’t necessarily the exact reason you’re feeling negative emotions, but it could play a factor.
Consider how much time you spend on Social Media and how much time you’re worrying about your own Online self-image. If we are all being honest; It’s probably too much.