The word Psychopaths invokes a lot of terrible images in our minds: Some imagine Hannibal Lector or the infamous on-screen persona of Norman Bates. There was a time when renowned psychologists like Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and others would for years study the behavioral patterns of those affected and would publish their theories to be understood and curated by others. Yet ours is a brave new world where Time, though being put on a pedestal, is of least significance. No longer do we have time to analyze such ailments and open our views for a differential diagnosis. For all we know we have been ailing with the worst kind of addiction the mankind has ever known and we don’t even realize it. We might have just evolved into Social media Psychopaths.
It is hardly a surprise if we find amongst us a large number of patients getting affected by new dangerous ailments and a clinical or traditional approach would rarely find any flaws. Simply put a Doctor who prescribes a cure must himself be disease free, right? Will you ask an addict on sure shot ways for quitting? No one of us realizes that we are dealing with an addiction and it slowly makes us even more vulnerable. Before starting any discussions, it is very important to understand that these symptoms are very real and happen to people all around us including you.
Here’s a List of Top 10 Social Media Addiction Effects:
1) FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): Fast World, Slow Self. It’s a rare combination of jealousy, boredom and self-loathing for insignificant things that would not have affected us ten years back. It’s a sudden punch in the gut by a simple notification.
It can happen with respect to a Post, a Ping, a Party or even significant Life Events which do not include the affected ones.
Cure: Read The Art of Not Giving a S**T (Coming Soon)
2) Phantom Rings: I remember watching Dogs whenever I used to get a chance to blow a supersonic whistle. It was not often but sure was fun. We now have the same syndrome.
We check our cell phones more than 100 times an hour on an average, even if we have not received a message. Now add to this madness, a frequent ringing of phones while taking a shower, using a blow-dryer or watching TV. This happens to most of us and we discard it as normal. But believe me getting insomnia just because of Phantoms Rings cannot be ruled out in the near future.
Cure: Read The Art of Deflating Ego (Coming Soon)
3) Social Media Narcissism: A Selfie, The Pout, Viral Videos and vines, RT for tweets and Likes for posts and life events are the new way of feeding a narcissistic personality.
A number of likes doesn’t make a below average Justin Bieber song even remotely comparable to a Michael Jackson Hit. It just means that most people have fallen to gimmick of social media marketing or maybe just peer pressure. Similarly, Selfies and Posting Life events are now so ingrained in our lifestyle that it hardly matters who we want “in” our life. It’s almost akin to showbiz except we do it often and that too for free. I want to live through a day when both bride and groom remotely attend a wedding event on a social site and the attendees who like the posts are sent a pizza. The baaraat can be a series of selfies with the pizza or the ugly pout. What Fun !!!
Cure: Read The Art of Deflating Ego (Coming Soon)
4) Dual Personality: It has not been emphasized enough that “we are not our Posts, our DPs, our Likes or even our Profiles”. Yet we all tend to forget this. Instead of being better versions of our own selves; we do what is easiest: we constantly update our profiles.
Be it for a job or even a like, we all have at some point of time compromised our true self. Its OK to Photoshop your pics before you post them coz u are afraid maybe someone will see your flaws. It’s a common thing most recruiters face nowadays. The resume shouts Perfect Candidate; the nervous candidate squeals “it’s all fake”. This is just one instance out of multiple moments throughout the day when we fall prey to our Dual personality.
Cure: Read The Art of Instant Nirvana (Coming Soon)
5) Mob Mentality: Mob justice is never recognized as a fair or a just way. Yes we may have made it a bit more civilized by calling it democracy but still mob justice will always be a part of the civilized system.
Jump to the modern era, where numerous hashtags float each hour, each day enabling people to put forward their view. But what happens when the intellectuals become hecklers or the hecklers disguise as intellectuals. The Bhakts, Aaptards, Sanghis or Congressis are just few faceless factions of a very active and volatile online mob waiting to take justice in their own hands. Most of us, in order to state our point, often use these Hashtags that are created by paid media with serious malicious intent. So you either become a part of the flawed ideology that you don’t completely support or you remain a speechless mute spectator who still wants to voice his/her point of view without being biased.
Cure: I firmly believe that though freedom of speech is everyone’s basic right, not using it at times is also a very responsible way of practicing it. Call it media trials or Mob Justice, I fear that almost all of us are playing their part to enable it. And maybe a revolution can be remaining silent when everyone else around you is shouting. This goes with everything whether its Religion, socio-political issues or other issues. Don’t use Hashtags before realizing who has started promoting them.
6) Social Contagion: People tend to have friends who are similar to themselves—in interests, beliefs, and behavior—a phenomenon known as homophily. So much so that each and every behavior pattern can be traced or mapped by the social media usage of that particular person. So if you visit a hotel/bar with a group of friends, it eventually will be tagged by anyone of them on a social network. Similarly your food reviews or movie reviews at a particular cinema will be just a statistical data. I believe if more research is put into it, it would be easier to predict who will you marry, where will go next or what would be the year and the reason of your death !!Scary,right?
We might have a long way to go for this to be a reality but then this takes away a major part of us being Humans i.e. Evolution. Continuous Social Contagion coupled with the tolerance level of our impatient generation will take away our chance to learn and be acceptable of others. Whether its Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi might not be an issue for a world war right now but it does reveal our intent to fight on a topic that we hold close, irrespective of the color, creed, nationality or gender. How easy it is now to brand any new innovation or idea to be Criminal, Blasphemous, anti-national or anti-humanity; if it doesn’t suit our goals. And let us all agree that we have evolved as a species just because of our ability to accept and try new ideas.
Cure: Read The Art of Waking Up (Coming Soon)
7) Cyber Bullying: Bullying is condemned in every society. With 24/7 Internet connections and the type of demographics that uses it, it would be very difficult to monitor it let alone prevent or stop it. An army trolls or an online stalker can make things worse. We might be glued to celebrity feuds on twitter but in reality such online feuds can be counterproductive. It might be disastrous for the younger generation to face it unguarded.
Suicide rates and depression are only mere dreadful results of an ongoing deadly racket. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
What might be seen as funny or un-threatening to some of us might be very hurtful to people dragging them to take extreme steps such as turning towards alcohol or drugs, hurting themselves or becoming cold /cruel.
Cure: Read The Art of Comebacks (Coming Soon)
8) Status War: We all love to judge a book by its cover. Social media has just made it a norm nowadays. Screening during your face to face interviews might just have a detailed check of your social profile right from Linkedin, twitter to facebook posts. The intellectual status or your financial status now has a new competition i.e social media status.
In order to enhance your career or your social graph, it has now become very crucial that you either have a lot of connections or followers, even if you have least in common. This is evident by the number of friends or connections you have. According to a Canadian research , having more than 300 friends on FB can be stressful. Also brazen attempts at promoting yourself or acquiring connections may backfire. Why else would you want to be just another spammer that invites people to fill surveys or play games or ask them to recommend you out of nowhere, if not improve your social media status. It’s a whole new level of dependency shown by majority of the crowd.
Cure: Read The Art of Subtle-ness (Coming Soon)
9)Nomophobia: Lets face it we have all had it more than once. Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. It is; however, arguable that the word “phobia” is misused and that in the majority of cases it is only a normal anxiety.
It occurs in situations when an individual experiences anxiety which is due to the fear of not having access to a mobile phone. Anxiety is provoked by several reasons, such as the loss of a mobile phone, loss of reception, and a dead mobile phone battery.Sadly the symptoms can be depression, extreme anxiety, fear, panic or dependence.
Cure: Read The Art of Giving Up (Coming Soon)
10) Text Neck/ Text Claw / Cell Phone Elbow: Now most of the issues discussed in this article are behavioral or psychological effects. But constant usage of high end technological gadgets like a Tab, smartphone or a laptop might have physical repercussions too.
X-rays that show how children as young as SEVEN are becoming hunch backs because of their addiction to smartphones, a condition known as Text Neck. A tingling sensation in your pinky finger running all the way to your elbow is called Cell Phone Elbow, Text Claw is the pain you get throughout your wrist and hands after constant use of keyboard or web browsing.
Cure: The Art of Getting Up (Coming Soon)
PS: I am no Metahuman. Like everyone else, even I am addicted to Smartphones and spend hours on my Laptop. The article itself was written on both these devices. I do acknowledge my addiction and I am working to curb it and enjoy a bit more.