Social media – is it taking over our lives?

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Board any form of public transport and you will find the majority of passengers face deep in their mobile phones. Some may well be texting or making notes on an organiser app but most, I guarantee will be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. I am one of them!

Due to my blog and make up business, I spend time on Facebook as I run two business pages. I also enjoy networking on LinkedIn and am part of various discussion groups for bloggers, writers and small business owners. LinkedIn has opened up a new world to me and I am happy to embrace it.

I use social media on my commute, lunch breaks and late in the evening when my children are asleep. Whilst at home I like to switch off and focus on the family. At times I am simply itching to respond to a comment on my blog or business page but I choose to prioritise my family. Being ‘present’ is highly underestimated and I feel social media can (if you allow it) take up too much of your time. People are literally, eating, sleeping and breathing it!

Gone are the days when one went out and the emphasis was on taking in the sights and the ambience. Now, photographs are posted on the hour with statements of what fun one is having. Why not post on returning from your day out and choose to enjoy that moment with the people who are actually there with you in person?

I rarely post when I am on a day out and never when away on holiday. I deliberately wait until I have arrived home. There is good reason for this; I generally do not like to disclose my movements.

The majority of teenagers document their entire life on Facebook. At a fast rate, they are becoming more and more disengaged from family members. They put themselves under immence pressure to have a constant presence on social media in case they are somehow forgotten.  There is a specific term for this and it is known as the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

In my youth, I visited friends and sat in their bedrooms chatting away for hours or we went to our local shopping centre to ‘hang out’.  I was able to detach from my peers and had no idea how they spent their weekend/school holidays. The youth of today do not have the pleasure of enjoying the simple things that we took for granted. For this reason, I will subtly discourage my children from joining any form of social media for as long as I can. 

Do you allow yourself to disengage every so often from social media?

How much does social media impact on your interaction with others?

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40 thoughts on “Social media – is it taking over our lives?”

  1. I can’t lie. I used to be addicted a lot. I try to take some time off from social media when I’m with my family.

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  2. Social Media is something I only access at home. You sound very similar to me. It’s great being part of LinkedIn groups for blogging. I am part of Facebook for blogging, business and a charity. I don’t put my life on Facebook like some. I recently read that if you behaved like some do on Facebook in the street , you’d be arrested !! 🙂

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  3. I use social media for business only. When I see my kids and grand kids on their cell phones checking facebook and putting up messages, I feel that they are missing the interaction with people that they are with face to face.

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  4. Sometimes I think of Shakespeare “O brave new world,
    That has such people in’t”
    This makes me think of “Brave New World” by Huxley. Which is a description of a dysfunctional society where people are manipulated by conditioning, and technology.
    I guess we are the writers of the future, which will it be? Will social media be used as a benefit to us, or a manipulator and destroyer of the human spirit. Time will tell.

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    1. Wow William – your comment is deep. I believe some are so consumed by social media and do not realise. They no longer know how to live without documenting every inch of their life.

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  5. Timely post and a topic I’ve been thinking about writing an essay about. I do try to unplug over the weekends, but it’s easier said than done with a SmartPhone always nearby. I really don’t like how I’ll be out doing something and I often spend time thinking about what my FB status update will be when I share with my friends. We spent too much time creating our reality and identities now. It also impacts how people converse.

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  6. WOW, this truly is a bigger issue today than most of us realize. I’m with Jacquie in that all this “stuff” has left us with an empathy deficit. It becoming very hard to stay in touch in a meaningful way with old and new friends. We are all so busy on our tech stuff… Sigh!

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  7. Great post Phoenicia. I def. don’t post on vacation – rarely look at emails actually, and I think that you make some really excellent points about the all invasive and pervasive nature of social media. I can’t imagine how it effects the psyche of teenagers today – having one’s life on show 24/7 is def. not something to aspire to in my book.

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  8. I don’t think it is social media that is taking over some folks lives as much as it is mobile devices. One of the things I try to do is to turn my phone off after I’ve looked at it. That fact that it takes a little extra to turn it back on makes me somewhat less likely to be checking in online when I should be checking in with my environment or the people around me.

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  9. I’m so in agreement with this post and the comments that all tie in. Like Lenie, I love when a place has a no-phones policy. Wow, we actually have to talk to each other at dinner–what a concept! If I have my phone out, it is for pictures. I review and write on TripAdvisor, so need pics of food to post them.

    I do disconnect in blocks of time. I simply shut everything off and walk away. If someone really needs me, they have the house phone (only a few folks know that number!). Otherwise, I’ll catch up when I hook in again.

    Conversation is more important than ever as our world gets smaller and we have these opportunities to be in touch with people everywhere. But we do have to make the effort to talk in person or at least pick up the phone.

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  10. This is much bigger issue today than most people relaize. Our obsession with smartphones/social media is creating an empathy deficit everywhere. People actually forget how to relate to other people given the lack of face to face contact and the sound of a voice. Like Doreen, I find I have to engage in order to promote my book(s) but I really make an effort to stay in touch with my friends in meaningful ways.

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    1. It has got to the stage where you do not miss anyone as you can watch their life via FB. We are deceived into thinking we are in each others life but really we are on the outside looking in on the better aspects of course!

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  11. Actually, my pet peeve with my husband is that he is often texting with others when we go out. He feels that if he doesn’t respond to someone right away, he is being rude. It really is interesting how we can feel responsible for being available to others 24/7. It used to be that you could call someone, and if they didn’t pick up you just assumed they weren’t home. Now if someone doesn’t immediately call or text back, they are ignoring you.

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    1. The interesting thing is in the process of responding to others, your husband is giving less time to you.

      I used to do the exact same thing then stopped after realising that I do not need to make myself available to anyone 24 hours. If a call is urgent they will call the landlines or continue to ring my mobile.

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  12. I’m not really on social media much and I abhor those who can’t stay off their phones even when driving. I’ve had more than one driver swerve into my lane because of their ‘important, must take that call’ attitude.
    There is a new restaurant/bar that has opened in Toronto that won’t allow anyone to use their phone inside. They promote their place as one where you have to talk ‘face to face’. Love that.

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    1. Some people are glued to their mobile phones. Do not get me started on drivers who use their phone when the car is in action.

      More restaurant owners should adopt the same rule. What on earth will people do on realising they cannot snap their meal and post on social media?

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  13. I do this on weekends. Especially, Saturdays. It is my time away. I have clients that want me to do research and social media posts for them in their industries, so need a break. When Saturday rolls around, I am MIA. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. It is a challenge to be sure. To answer your question, I absolutely unplug at lease a few times a day. I chunk my time online for different tasks to avoid constantly going back and forth or multi-tasking. When I leave my house my phone is shut off and I don’t check messages or anything else until I return, and so on. I learned the hard way to set firm boundaries. When I was a life and small business coach I literally had hundreds of clients who thought I should be available to them 24/7. I even had a few show up at my home at odd hours. I put a stop to that right quick. It’s become second nature to me now, but I know many others struggle with this issue so thanks so much for sharing your inspiration.

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  15. Hi Phoenicia. This is a difficult one for me to answer. As I am tasked with growing my “author’s platform” I must be ever-present (it seems) on social media. If I want to get sponsored travel to places I need to visit for my research, I must be active on social media and prove that I have an active and engaged following. So I find that I have to spend more time on social media that if I were just using it for fun. For me, it actually part of my work as a freelance writer and author.

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  16. Social media is not taking over my life. Find it deplorable how the majority of people can’t take their eyes of their mobiles. Even when they cross a street or push a pram. Having said that I get a lot out of social media, but there is no need to be online 24/7 in order to succeed. Those who are haven’t figured out how to use social media yet:-)

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