November 2015

social media

Why we’re hooked on social media

We live in a world where we are inundated with information. We’re hooked on social media as it quenches our fear of alienation and ignorance.

It provides us with a social agenda for the day and ensures we don’t miss opportunities for asserting and validating our opinions. One could even say that it gives us a sense of belonging, raises our self-esteem and puts us at the forefront of the latest trends.

We’re all guilty of it as naturally we want to participate, get involved and be noticed. It appeals to our egos. Apart from social media, we are exposed daily to television, the movies, the web, e-mails and video games which are just a few of the ways that our mind gathers information. Whether we like it or not, we are swimming in the sea of information overload.

Due to the necessity to stay connected with the world around us, it feels like there’s not much choice left in deciding what to focus our attention on. Everything comes flying at us with such tremendous speed. So with this, there’s always a danger. Our values start to diminish, we tend to become desensitized to the world around us and a feeling of numbness forms around our hearts. Almost like something we try to shield ourselves from but accept that this is irreparable and after all, it doesn’t seem that harmful.

Do we suffer from too much cynicism?

Very often we fall into the trap of focusing our minds on things that are corrupt, dishonest, violent, discouraging or trivial. How did we become so engrossed with such cynical matters? Can we blame it on technology, our lifestyle or the pace of life? Are we simply too busy to focus our minds on the finer things in life? Is it easier to go with the flow? Do we have the FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome?

One thought that crossed my mind is that even though everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial. We are what we think and what we think is the result of what we focus our minds on. The types of movies we watch, the kind of websites we visit, the company we keep and the type of posts we expose ourselves to on social media (a huge way of gathering information in the 21st century).

All these channels can either empower and strengthen us or they can break us down and debilitate our belief in something greater (the thing that keeps us anchored). Our minds are susceptible to suggestive thoughts, especially if we are open minded individuals. Being open minded has good intentions, but it can also become a stumbling block if we don’t always counteract what we perceive as truth.

How to stop?

If someone throws a bucket of water at you and you don’t move away to prevent yourself from getting wet – you suffer the consequences. It’s the same with the multitude of messages that are transmitted through our multimedia devices. If we consume content without asking ourselves what it’s about and asking how it benefits us, our minds will simply become a storage place for both beneficial and harmful information.

By questioning and focusing our attention on content that is beneficial and valuable will help to stop our minds from wandering into areas that can cause much negativity and cynicism.

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