A recent study of college students around the world revealed some very troubling information regarding social media, media in general and the word "addiction." My guess is many of these findings can be applied ALL of us.
As usual there is no shortage of articles, stories and posts re: social media...
- Twitter is the new Facebook (CNN)
- Facebook tests Twitter-like real-time update feature (memeburn)
- Facebook Growth Outpacing Other Social Media (Marketing Profs)
- Facebook Sees Big Traffic Drops in US and Canada (Inside Facebook)
I recommend reading them all but today I wanted to share some disturbing news which came out of a recent study conducted by the International Center for Media & the Public Affairs (ICMPA) in partnership with the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change.
With a pool of nearly 1,000 college students in ten countries over five continents - including the US, the study sought to witness the effects of abstaining from social media and ALL media for a period of 24 hours.
The results are quite enlightening and shocking at the same time...
Here are some of the highlights or lowlights, depending on how you look at it:
- The word "addiction" while not clinically relevant was surely on the minds of the students as this word came back repeatedly in responses. "I was itching, like a crackhead, because I could not use my phone." - US student
- Facebook is the social media "drug" of choice. "There is no doubt that Facebook is really high profile in our daily life." - Hong Kong student
- But "Texting is the glue of social life." "I found it hard not to text my boyfriend as I am so used to doing that as our main way of communicating during the day." - UK student
- A sense of isolation and loneliness came over many. "When I couldn't communicate with my friends by mobile phone, I felt so lonely as if I was in a small cage on an island." - China student
- Envy led to hostility. "I realized that I was having hostile thoughts towards those students who were walking around texting. I was jealous of them and it literally felt like some sort of withdrawal." - US student
Here's a grid which encapsulates other comments: (click on the grid itself to see the full image)
My first reaction after reading over all of the findings was 'I think much of this is applicable to ALL social media and media users as a whole.'
My next thought was 'how pathetic we've become.' How utterly pathetic and dependent we've all become on technology, which is truly what this is all about. Technological advances are what allow us to do what we do, right?
And I readily admit here and now in this very forum, I am an addict.
I realize part of my job requires me to be "online" in a myriad of ways but I am not so sure I could go 24 hours without using ANY form of media, my cell phone, my computer, etc.
Come clean, be honest and tell the truth... Could you go 24 straight hours without using your cell phone, without using your computer, without using your iPad or iPod?
Look, I am NOT saying I am opposed to technological advances... clearly I am not. So spare me those types of comments....
I am merely making the point of how dependent - and that truly is the operative word, we've become as a society.
My last thought on all this before I sat down to write this post was about my kids. I have an 11-year old daughter and 6-year old son. I wonder what the future holds for them re: technology and if they too, will be just as dependent as current college-aged kids and those older have clearly become.
My fear is they will... and quite frankly, already are.
Sources: The Social Addiction - It's More Serious Than We Think, the world UNPLUGGED, Huffington Post, memeburn, Marketing Profs, CNN, Inside Facebook, Google Images