Guest column: A social media intervention

The world would be a much better place if all of us reflected upon the need to constantly post to Facebook or check our Twitter accounts, writes Sammy Rich.

By Sammy Rich

Last week, Facebook was down for 30 minutes, causing what can only be described as “chaos” and “total social disorder” among young and old, rich and poor.

Sarcasm aside, the outrage that came from a brief glitch in Facebook’s system leads to a more troubling fact about us today: we are too codependent.

Using social media is not wrong. In fact, social media has inspired universal togetherness, helped overthrow governments, allowed greater insight into public affairs and provided endless hours of entertainment. Friendships with people around the globe would have been unheard of. An uprising in Egypt could have not happened. Local politicians couldn’t reach their constituents as easily. And that video of a hamster eating a burrito could not have been watched over and over by someone like me. Social media is a powerful tool. People tend to forget that and overuse it to chronicle the mundane.

Being so dependent on technology that people cannot go more than an hour without checking Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr is a telltale sign of addiction. People with their phone glued to their face at restaurants are as bad as a desperate junkie. Not being able to spend time with friends or family without having the Smartphone is a co-dependency issue.

The biggest issue with social media, however, is the way most people use it to validate themselves. There are literally hundreds of apps on the Apple App Store to get people more likes on Instagram photos. People feel like they have failed if their “selfie” on Instagram doesn’t get a certain amount of likes, so they turn to these apps to feel a sense of self-worth. That is not healthy. That is teaching people, especially young adults, that they need to rely on other people to tell them their social “worth.” That’s unhealthy, not only for the person, but all of us, collectively.

People chronicle the most mundane facets of their life on Facebook to share with others in order to feel a sense of pride when other people “like their status” and, hence, admire them.

I’m no saint, I have a habit of doing this as much as everyone else. The question is, how do we undo this social media codependency? How about an intervention?

Ask yourself, “Do people really need to know this?” before posting on Facebook. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to check Twitter right now?” when in a public situation such as a restaurant. Stop for a brief moment and ask yourself why this specific post or video is so important that you feel the need to share it. Savor time with your family, without having the need to check Facebook or Twitter. (Your parents would be happier that way, too; admit it).