Addiction, it can be connected to anything. And it was this morning as I sat with my regular Milo coffee (mmmm Milo) phone in hand, thumb scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, that I realise I am well and truly addicted to this social media platform. I have these wonderful memories of being a young teen, staying up late into the night, glued to the pages of some book. I would always buy 2-3 new books every time I went on holidays completing them before I came home. I had read the Harry Potter series 3 times, and all the books in Anne Rice’s Vampire chronicles (you know, before reading about vampires became cool). In fact, I admit that I use social media as a way of procrastinating (Andreassen 2012, p.502) most of the time.
Now, however, I don’t think I have finished more than 2 books in the last 5 years. My attention span for reading has significantly diminished. I can no longer sit and read for long periods of time as I find myself being drawn back to my phone, curious to see what other people might be posting about today, or the latest blog or article linked to one of my myriad of interests. It is not for lack of trying though. I have bought quite a few e-books to read on my Ipad, but inevitably my attention begins to waver after a few pages. I don’t even think the books I have been reading are boring, in fact they are brilliant books that I have been enjoying and keep going back to because I really DO want to know who the real killer is, or to enjoy the adventures of creatures in some far off fantasy land.
I have made multiple attempts to disconnect myself from social media during my holidays away from uni when my need for the platform is at its lowest and I have only managed to last a week before I find myself drawn back to the pages of random funny memes and scandalous debates.
So it is that I have begun to accept this addiction and have actually tailored my life in order to incorporate, not only Facebook, but the many other social media platforms that exist today. Instead of books, I have amerced myself into a double degree that studies social media and incorporates it into the subjects. In fact, I have two subjects this semester where I have to upload projects to Facebook pages created for my classes. I have dived into the world of Twitter, even winning a small award one semester for being the most prolific tweeter, I am so very proud lol. I have linked in with quite a few online group that cater to the various different aspects to my life. I have one for single mothers, one for parents with a special needs child, one for university, one that is simple a mother’s support group. I have even got many friends to whom I have never actually met, but I have known them for over 5 years and we have become very close.
While I do hope one day to get back to my ability to read a book cover to cover in a few days. I have accepted the fact that at this stage in my life I am a social media addict, and for now, this is ok. It might have its downsides. But the many positives it has outweigh the cons and I am happy to keep going the way I am, even if it means that I occasionally go over my data allowance and have to pay through the nose for the extra data I’ve used (OUCH is all I can say to that).
Andreassen, C S 2012, ‘Development of a Facebook Addiction Scale, Department of Psychosocial Science University of Bergen, Norway, Vol. 2, pp. 501-517