Social media is a creative space where virtual networks are built, and ideas, products and services are shared. Social media, once considered just a trend, has become a part of our everyday lives. A majority of our friends are active on it, and every successful business utilizes it. However, there are cons and unspoken rules to its usage. When the reasonings for the cons start to reveal themselves and rules are broken, we need to take action and log off!
Here are five signs that it's time to log off of social media:
1. Financial Irresponsibility
Financial irresponsibility boils down to spending money that you don't have, spending outside of your suggested budget (and or means) and making large purchases of no real value. According to an article on statistic.com, "The United States is, by far, the largest social media advertising market in the world, as more than 9.4 billion U.S. dollars were spent on social media advertising in the country, in 2015 alone." Advertisements are legitimately everywhere! Some are listed as sponsored posts, small businesses follow your page and leave nice comments to bring attention to their page and ultimately to their website, bloggers tag companies that they have partnered with and entrepreneurs have a space for free advertising. While it may be hard to avoid getting sucked into advertisements, if you're spending money that has been designated for utilities, or calculating how many days you'll have to eat from the dollar menu until your next pay day, it's time to log off. Advertisements are pretty much unavoidable, but if you can't exhibit self control, you may need to spend less time on social media.
2. Depression Onset by Envy
It may be very possible that you have never experienced depression, but have recently started reevaluating your life — triggered by posts on social media. Reevaluating is not a bad thing, as long as it's not because of constant comparison. You should always try to find ways to better yourself and welcome growth. However, when this reevaluation turns into constant thoughts of not being good enough based on comparisons to complete strangers that only highlight the highs of their lives, it is time to reconsider the amount of time you are investing into social media. As discussed earlier, social media is a networking tool for engagement and advertising. When that transforms into emotional risks, it is no longer worth it. Have you heard of the phrase, "comparison is the thief of joy"? Well, that's exactly what you're doing to yourself. You are robbing your self-worth based on the comparison of what others show online. It is almost as though you are cyberbullying yourself. You might want to unfollow some travel pages or groups, fashion bloggers that post labels that you can't afford or models that have purchased procedures that will never be obtained through fitness alone. Even though a majority of their purpose is to inspire, the moment you feel the inspiration turning into jealousy, or feeling inadequate, it is time to log off.
3. You Have Become a Troll
A friendly debate is good for the soul. It opens your eyes to different perspectives and it enhances your skills of being able to express your thoughts, ideas and ability to take a firm stance on your beliefs. However, debates on the internet can go from zero to 100 real quick when people start to use abusive or foul language. We call those users, trolls of the internet. There are millions of accounts that people use to hide behind to share their opinion. They have no profile pic or have stolen one from someone else, they typically have zero followers and no posts. Their sole goal is get online to spread negativity and say things they normally wouldn't say if people knew who they truly were. But don't be fooled! There are trolls out here that are more than happy to show who they are, and they can't wait to curse someone out with a different opinion than theirs. There is also an influx of people that follow users that they don't even like, and leave hurtful comments for them to see. If you find yourself as one these types of trolls or engaging with them far too often, it's time to log off, because this is a complete waste of time and energy.
4. It Has Become a Distraction
If you ask your closest friends or co-workers how much time they spend on social media, they will more than likely reply with, "too much time." According to socialmediatoday.com, the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of five years and four months spent over a lifetime. Although these statistics are startling, if the time spent was for marketing or research purposes, it is time well spent, especially if there was a measurable return on investment. If this time could have been used better elsewhere or it has stopped you from completing necessary projects, then social media is a distraction for you. If you have found yourself getting lost in time or putting things off until you've spent your required hours on social media, it's time to log off. Try setting an alarm to alert you when it's time to do other things. Put your phone in your drawer at work and only pull it out at lunch time. Reduce the amount of social media platforms that you are active on in order to get your priorities back in order.
5. Everyone Online Knows Your Personal Business
Save the best for last! If you are using social media as your electronic diary, log off immediately. This is not to be confused with sharing pictures of what you ate today, where you did your shopping or even if you're having a bad day. This one is for those that tell every reason why they hate their baby momma, why they cut their cousins off financially and how they found their husband cheating the night before. Although the best way to connect with people online is to be transparent, there are things that should be saved for only close friends and family. Sometimes people reach a breaking point where the pressure of unfortunate events have boiled over and they just want to share for sympathy or support. They can always delete later, if they feel they have shared too much. However, those with constant diarrhea of emotions, that constantly share their personal business, need to find a different outlet and log off.
The most important thing to remember about all of these points is to stay focused on the purpose of social media, and to not be unfocused on your life outside of it.
Being financially responsible is no one else's responsibility but your own, and knowing when and how much to spend is your choice and your decision. Spend wisely.
Stop comparing your whole life to one picture. That trip that person is on, might have been paid for by someone else; that purse someone is showing off, might have been a gift. Focus on yourself and if those are things that you want for yourself, spend more time figuring out how to get them.
Don't argue with people online, because you will both appear to be foolish, no matter who is right or wrong.
Pick up a new hobby or book, and limit your time spent on social media if it's not for business related purposes.
And finally, keep some things to yourself or those that can actually help you. People are only as nosey as you allow them to be.