…The spiraling use of the Internet and its potential involvement in psychopathology are new consequences of our times…
…Rehabilitation admissions for Xanax and other anti-anxiety drugs has tripled since the 1990s…
…At least 10 ultra-Web users, serviced by one-click noodle delivery, have died of blood clots from sitting too long…
—“Is the Web Driving Us Mad?” Newsweek, July 16, 2012
Since you’re reading this, you can officially question your sanity! According to the recent Newsweek article from which these quotes were taken, the DSM will include Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) as a provisional psychological diagnosis. China, Taiwan, and Korea, have not only taken this stance but treat IAD as a national health crisis, especially among their youth.
Still skeptical? The University of Maryland did an experiment in 2010. They asked 200 undergraduates to fast from web and internet technologies for a day and keep a diary of their feelings. One student wrote, “Media is my drug.” Two other universities attempted to validate the findings but could not find enough participants.
“‛Most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world,’ the University of Maryland concluded.”
Having kept a journal for myself for years, it took me until this year to go public as a blog. Like many, I had to shed the notion of a public/private life divide. I had to grow comfortable with what I consider to be wearing my heart on my sleeve. In the early days, I shared with friends that I felt like an adolescent whose voice is cracking and who’s tripping over his own feet!
Some early phases of going online also included a certain amount of anxiety of what others would think of me. How do I know what constitutes a successful blog? How many followers do I have? How many LinkedIn connections?
Does it matter?
We have to keep a sense of humor proportional to social media consumption. Consider THIS AD.
This young woman bemoans her “loser” parents who “don’t have a life” because they have no online friends. Unbeknownst to her, they are driving off to a trailhead to go mountain biking with another couple and obviously having fun in real face-to-face time.
Am I against social media use? Of course not. Like all tools, it needs to serve a purpose. What’s the purpose of social media for your business and your life? The real question is, consider whether social media use complements your real business and your real life. Watch out if your real life starts becoming just another open browser.
I recommend a social media check-up to see if you need an “intervention.” Ask a close friend or spouse who’ll be honest with you.
- What outcome do you want from your online social interactions? Be honest: how much of your behavior is driven by that dopamine ‘high’ from the buzz or ping from your PC or tablet or phone?
- Does the time you invest in social media support or detract from your business and your life? How would you know the difference?
- Consider trying your own experiment: go on a media fast for an hour or a day or a week.
“To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.”
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose