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Social Media Addiction: Does it Really Impact Our Relationships?

Social media; with the good comes the bad. On the pro side is the easy access to family, long lost friends and loved ones who live far away. On the con side is the notion that social media is ruining our relationships and feeding today’s instant gratification ‘hookup’ culture.  After all, we live in a short-attention span generation that caters to “checking in”, posting an Instagram photo in real time, and hooking up via Tinder. 

To make matters worse, there’s even a new trend called “after sex selfies”; I’ll let you guess what that means. Should social media really be an outlet to broadcast your sex life? And does anyone actually want to see those photos? 

April Masini, author and relationship etiquette expert, said it perfectly when she said, “It’s almost as if it didn’t happen if it isn’t on Instagram or some other form of social media these days.”

But, is posting after-sex selfies just another behavior that’s become all-too-common in today’s ‘hookup’ culture?

The problem may well be that we live in a generation where privacy doesn’t exist and instant gratification is the norm—certainly nothing compared to the babyboomer generation or even Generation X.  When they made a flub or even a horribly embarrassing mistake, it was just a memory.  Our present generation records those awful moments and sometimes they do the unthinkable and go “viral” creating a public humiliation that goes on like a train wreck that won’t stop wrecking.  

We also have the instant gratification of online streaming, letting us watch whatever TV show (or porn) we want, and the ability to swipe right to find the next hottest thing if the last one just wasn’t doing it for us.  We don’t suffer anymore and nothing is sacred because everything is easily accessible and right in front of us; even anonymous married affairs via Ashley Madison, (though apparently they’ve been caught with their “pants down” as of late).

Sexy Social Media and the Hookup Culture

With the advent of instant gratification dating apps like Tinder, there has also been an increase in everything from STD transmission to social media addiction. The always-on connectivity of tablets and mobile phones is leading to problems with separating personal and private lives, and this leads to a disconnect with couples.  Some couples report having problems breaking away from the “app” part of dating and settling down into living together and, you know, actually communicating person to person like people did in the “olden days”.  A new study shows a clear link to social media addiction and relationship dissatisfaction.  

And that’s if dating or ‘hanging out’ ever even progresses far enough to be called an actual relationship. ‘Hanging out’ is the new norm, because people are presented with an endless supply of new options at the touch of their fingertips. Why pay for a date or make a commitment when you can have a buffet of new options presented to you on a shiny platter (aka your mobile phone) every day?

But at the end of the day, our own vices are to blame and social media is just the medium we use to feed our addictions (sex, egos, etc). Is social media just getting a bad rap?

“Social media is not ruining our love lives any more than the telephone ruined our love lives. Social media is another method of communication and there will be others. Ultimately, however, we decide how we engage with our partners and to what frequency. Social media has simply expanded the methods by which we can communicate,” said Chris Armstrong, a relationship coach.

Social media, we hate to love it and love to hate it. And most of us have been guilty of over indulging in it at one point or another. Using it as a tool to connect with people we wouldn’t have otherwise known is great. Using it as a tool to enhance businesses and keep in touch with long lost friends is great. Using it in place of forming actual relationships and feeding our narcissistic egos, not so much.

The bottom line is, this isn’t the generation that ruined sex…it’s the generation that ruined relationships and replaced it with meaningless sex. Social media is simply the catalyst.

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