Today’s world is dominated by social media and it plays a significant role in our lives – both at work and at home. There are an estimated 2.3 billion social media users globally. But has our need to keep people updated on our every move or thought gone too far?
Arguably a benefit of social media is that it reduces isolation by connecting people all over the world. However, in many ways, it can be a “false reality” – simply a window through which you see just a snapshot of another person’s life. This snapshot is often carefully choreographed and portrays the subject at their best moment and in their best light. As such, when seeing others though social media it’s natural to make assumptions about how their life might be and you might believe that they, and others, are all having a great time while you are missing out. A recent study by researchers from the University of Houston in Texas has shown that social media is contributing to depression due to users comparing themselves to others.
For some, being online is their main source of social interaction and, over time, this can turn out to be an isolating and lonely experience. And, while the rewards of communicating online are instantaneous, it can also create an “always on” state of alertness from which can be a struggle to switch off.
There can be big benefits to taking some time off social media, however, by logging-out and tuning-in to other means of social interaction. Taking a social media holiday, where you meet and speak to people in person, might just be the break that you need.
If you’re considering taking a social media holiday, bear the following in mind:
Taking a social media holiday can be an incredibly refreshing experience. It gives you time to enjoy life in the “here and now” instead of analysing what others are seemingly doing. It has never been easier for us to stay connected with one another, to receive updates on what each of our friends are doing – but it is easy to forget that this is not always a healthy or desirable option.
Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services, AXA PPP Healthcare