Mobile platform has changed the way we interact with the world. It is difficult to imagine yourself with a mobile phone with no functioning internet. You can access any website through their app. Some even condemn the self obsessed culture of narcissism fueled by mobile apps.
Having said that there is no denying that social networking addiction was theorized and studies have been conducted to confirm our fears. A study conducted by University of Derby in the UK confirms that social media addiction and its rampant spread of narcissistic behavior amongst people, especially youth is true.
Facebook has 751 million people using it on an average in a month and Instagram has people uploading as many as 40 million pictures per day; social media apps are thriving and they are here to stay. Top 5 addictive social media apps are Twitter, Facebook, Whats app, Snapchat and Instagram.
According to social scientists, our deep psychological need fuels all social network apps. Our need for social validation is what makes our relevant. It is basic human nature to seek validation from the society we live in. However, if this digital validation isn’t kept in check, it will cost us more than we bargained for.
Following reasons are attributed to our pursuit of social media apps.
- Social media apps promote FoMo – fear of missing out. When you post something on your favorite social networking app – you are basically telling the world about you and people liking it or retweeting it boosts your social validation. University of Rochester and University of California have found that when people don’t login to their social media apps, their psychological needs aren’t met. FoMo affects people under thirty and you can spot them constantly checking their phone to stay ahead of everything happening in their network.
- I, Me, Myself – social media apps help in creating a brand ‘you’. All of your favorite social media apps allow you to interact with people you know and people who may want to know. Comparing yourself with the ones you think are better than you can create self esteem crisis at the same challenge you to rise to the occasion. For example your number of followers is 3 times more than the number of people you follow, is an instant ego boost because it shows you are popular. Comments and likes (or the absence of them) on your Selfie’s can either shake your confidence or shoot it sky high.
- Self Expression – your favorite social media apps allow you the freedom of self expression. Whether you only want to send pictures instead of actual words or participate in random online debates, there is an app for that. This freedom of self expression has cost a lot of people their jobs because of embarrassing posts and pictures. Selfie was the word of the year 2013. Using only texts to communicate has replaced phone calls for many.
Social network apps are not evil, our tendency to overload on them is.