By Timayo Ogunro
Living in a golden age of likes, feeds and retweets, social media has been ‘king of the hill’ since the birth of Bebo. How many followers do I have? Why has no one liked my picture? Questions like this are what tap into the juicy jugular of attention and insecurity that feed our over amplified African egos. Now I’m sure there will be a couple of you that disagree, and you have every right to share your thoughts on the matter- no one’s opinion is wrong, stupid maybe, juvenile definitely, but never wrong.
How long have you gone without looking at your phone? Hours, days, weeks? Or better yet, how often do you pull out your phone to send a fake text, when trying to escape an awkward situation? Now I’m not here to demonize the application of social media- I don’t take sides- but come on people, what happened to the good ol’ days? Who remembers the days when you would wake up and brush your teeth and have breakfast? Nowadays the first thing we do is check our smartphones for recent notifications.
Depleting hours of our limited days on earth staring at our seven inch LED screen, we have become the zombies of our own CGI filled horror flick- craving the soft, warm, gray matter that is *for copyright purposes, we cannot use the names of any major social media application in a bad light*
And now it’s time for our science section of the article. According to a study carried out by Dr. Eng. Barr. Chief… when your phone notifies you with a like or comment, your brain is swimming in a metaphorical pool of dopamine, stimulating your senses and emotions.
“But social media keeps me aware of the news and what’s going on around the world”
- 21 year old generic ‘slay queen’
Afraid that you’ll miss out on life and world changing events? Don’t be- the only thing you really miss out on, are a mass of meaningless memes (ok, some are funny) and the mind-numbing sensation of pop-culture gossip.
My point is, spend more time in the real world people, go out and smell the roses- literally, do not let your phone become a crutch, a weight dragging you down through a black hole to the defeating world’s fake perception of what happiness should be.
If you spend way too much time refreshing your Instagram feed or looking for money to buy the seventy thousand naira weave just for that ‘perfect selfie’, guess what- you are addicted to social media. An addiction is defined as the overuse of any substance, so much so, that it begins to negatively interfere with one’s lifestyle.
Although the medical world does not recognize the uncomfortable over application of social media as an addiction (or mental disorder), we all have that one friend in our life that cannot do without their dog face filters- and if you don’t know, chances are- it’s you.
Over the years, studies have shown signs of anxiety and depression in people that spend too much time online. And that leads me to my next segment… does social media act as access to a better life?
I created my Facebook account twelve years ago (God I’m old) and since that faithful day, I have accepted hundreds of friend requests. But does that mean that I stayed in touch with any of them? Again, please don’t get it twisted- I love social media- calling friends and family in the abroad is not cost efficient for (me) anyone. But that does not mean I’m going to like or comment on a low resolution picture of your breakfast. So, why is it that- as humans- we tend to have twice as many friends online, than in reality? Is it a feeling of wanting, is it a currency? The more ‘friends’ you have, the more likes you get, the more popular you become.
Shielded by bits of bytes of data, we are given the free will to unfollow and unfriend people with the simple touch of a button, but are too scared to tell those same people how we really feel about them.
As human beings our minds have been wired and remastered to portray the persona of the perfect virtual version of ourselves to please the masses. Social media creates a false feeling of affection for people we know nothing about. To put it in a way wey person go fit sabi- a girl that complains about her cheating boyfriend, but then posts a pic of them kissing a few minutes later with the tag #relationshipgoals is a confused human being.
Why do a group of people witnessing pain choose to pull out their phones instead of lending a helping hand? Why do so many impressionable teens follow and comment on the pages of the socialites and sinners? Instead of running to social media for an escape from the pain and pressure of the real world, why not use the tools at our disposal as an empowering means to motivate the masses.
In conclusion, if you still disagree with my point, answer me this- how many of you read this article on a seven inch touchscreen?
Just something to think about.
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