I have a confession.
I’m addicted to social media, and I know it.
In the past 7 days, I spent 6.7 hours messaging, 5.2 hours on Facebook, 2.8 hours on Snapchat, 2.9 hours on Instagram, 2.9 hours on Twitter, 1.9 hours on Safari, and 1.4 hours emailing.
That totals to nearly 24 hours. I spent nearly an entire day of my life this week on social media.
Is this a problem? 100%. Pathetic? Arguably. Devastating to my GPA and life in general? Surprisingly not.
First of all, in my defense, I spend a lot of my time on social media reading the news. And while others split their time over desktop and phone social media, I almost exclusively use social media on my phone, racking up the minutes. This past week was syllabus week, meaning I didn’t have as much work to do.
But those are just excuses. The true root of the issue lies in a social media addiction. Self-diagnosed, of course. I see my own addiction reflected in so many other people. When I finally put down my phone and get to work in the library, I look around and notice all the other people glued to their phones.
But my personality is hard-wired to be this way.
Personally, I believe my addiction to social media is rooted in my extroverted tendencies. I like to be surrounded by people. Whenever I am forced to spend time alone, such as in a library, I resort to social media to fulfill my social needs. I checked out a study and guess what I found: my Myers Briggs personality type is one of the most likely to use social media. I am an ENFJ, and we are the most likely to have a Facebook, second most likely to have a LinkedIn, and we spend more time interacting and sharing information than the other types. More introverted personality types, such as ISTJs, are more likely to think social media is a waste of time, or avoid interacting and sharing as much on social media.
I’m very interested in the psychology theories about achievement. Some of the smartest and most academically successful people I know also are addicted to a certain vice, or they are just wicked bad procrastinators. Some of my friends suffer from the same social media addiction as me, and I see them glued to their phones as well. How is this possible that they balance academics and excessive social media use?
Well, it’s us, the Millenials, back at it again.
Apparently, we all do it. The average affluent millennial spends 53 hours per week online. This translates to about 7.5 hours daily, compared to the average US citizen spending 5.75 hours daily on digital media activities. That’s more than a full-time job.
But just because millennials spend so much time on social media doesn’t mean we don’t value in person conversation. It’s actually the opposite. We seek out more offline experiences than any other generation. But the reason why we do it is to have more content with which to express ourselves on social media. Who would’ve thought that excessive social media use actually leads to more real-life experiences?
Let’s really dig in now.
In this class, I’m looking forward to exploring social media use more deeply. What characteristics, other than MBTI, impacts social media use? What psychological impact does social media have on individuals? How do companies properly appeal to their customer base on social media? I can’t wait to reflect on digital trends and keep up with this ever-changing digital landscape. Although I know this class will be intense, I haven’t been this excited about taking a class in a long time.
This semester, I expect to tailor my blog posts to topics about food in social media. Food marketing has always fascinated me, and I would love to gain an understanding of how and why food marketing is becoming digital. I’m considering analyzing:
- The phenomenon of Tasty videos
- Food delivery services such as Postmates and Grubhub
- Grocery delivery services such as Amazon Fresh and Blue Apron
- The impact of the digital economy on agriculture
- How restaurants and grocery stores are leveraging social media
- Why we like social media accounts devoted to food
- How food-related social movements such as vegetarianism, gluten free, anti-GMO, etc. use social media
- The reason why we watch cooking videos but never make the food,
…and more. That’s just a taste of what I’ve got in store—please leave comments about digital food phenomenons that interest you and I’ll consider writing about it!
So, what’s my “one WEIRD trick” for spending so much time on social media? Even if you don’t realize it, I bet you do it too.