By Jessica Galliart
11:43 AM CDT, July 10, 2012
Melodramatic? Maybe a little. But, seriously, your obsession with social media and your Instagram feed is probably sending you straight to Crazy Town.
I tend to roll my eyes at every report about a new “study” just released that contains mostly alarmist “results,” because, much of the time, context is not provided and a “study” of a few hundred people by some crackpot scientist isn’t the most reliable piece of information. That being said...a new survey conducted in the UK about the effect of social media on human beings seems pretty spot-on. More than half of the 298 people polled by the Univeristy of Salford said their lives have changed for the worse since joining social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Side effects: Depression from comparing their achievements to their friends’, anxiety from being unable to relax or sleep, stress when they can’t access it, et cetera. Basically, if you’re already a little neurodic or anxious, then Facebook is going to be the end of you.
Why does this get a head nod? Let’s review. Here are just a few ways social media is turning you into a horrible person.
Hey, asshole: Look at all of the things you don’t have and can’t afford! Thanks, Pinterest, for tricking me into thinking that if I just throw something onto an “idea board” and share it with everyone that it’ll come to me. Basically, Pinterest ripped off "The Secret."
My god, the pressure!!!!!! Let's pretend you're super funny or clever or thoughtful or "social" on Twitter. Now, let's pretend you are not really any of these things in real life, because you need at least 30 seconds to think up good responses to things and another 20 seconds to edit yourself. Result: Word vomit. You've not only made someone walk away confused, but you've probably also lost a follower. Cripes!
Vice versa, when you are the one meeting someone in real life that you’ve “known” extensively through Twitter or Facebook, and he or she turns out to be incredibly disappointing? Heartbreak hotel. No wonder he Instagrams every import beer he ever drinks: Either his friends hate him so much that they don’t notice (or care) that he’s always on his phone, or he’s doing all of this cool shit alone all the time. Never trusting anyone ever again.
No more lying to get out of things
Speaking of trust issues…not only can you not believe anything anyone else says, but you can no longer use the “I’m busy” excuse yourself to get out of going to your friend’s crappy art show. Why? Because you’ll forget you lied and start tweeting links from your Wikipedia black hole session. Guilty.
HALP. FourSquare is broken, and if I don't check in at Chik-Fil-A I'm going to lose my mayoral status. How will anyone believe that I ever leave the house if I don't check in?! If a chicken sandwich is eaten without a FourSquare check-in, does anyone hear it? You get the point.
Inability to focus
I don’t mean on work or school or anything. I’m talking about important things, like your dinner, the band playing 20 feet in front of you or, you know, the friend-person sitting next to you at the bar trying to have a conversation. While we're all so busy trying to prove ourselves to Internet friends through our check-ins and our witty tweets, we're missing out on the crazy drunkards and actual, real-life friends right in front of us. Try the game where all of your friends put their phones in the middle of the table for the night—whoever gives in and grabs their phone first pays the entire bill. If you're as broke as me, you'll stay the hell away from your phone for a few hours.
It actually helps in some situations, yes, but a few of us are actually even more closed off and nervous because of the online connections we’ve made. Translating those into real-life meetings or connections can be terrifying—why would I thank someone for the drink in person when I could just tweet them later? Talking will ruin everything! It gets better with practice—just suck it up and do it.
Need I say more? If I ever saw these Twitter a-holes in person, I would have no anxieties about giving them swift kicks to the groin. Go away!
Social media—Tumblr, blogging, Twitter—has made it even easier for general nobodies to become “Internet famous” for absolutely no reason. Ever had a friend become near-obsessed with crafting the perfect niche Tumblr that will totally turn into a book and make tons of money? That friend is an awful, awful person.
Unavoidable family time
In the olden days, you were able to successfully avoid your family for 363 or so days a year. Now? If you don’t accept that friend request from your mother, you’ll never hear the end of it. And if you do? You’ll never hear the end of it. Some things are not meant for Mother’s eyes.
Jessica Galliart is RedEye's Social Media Lady.
email@example.com | @jessicagalliart
More from the RedEye staff:
After I found out some bars actually offer specials or discounts through FourSquare, I find myself checking in more. If I spot something cool, pretty, unusual, my first instinct is to snap a photo I can upload to Instagram right away. Of course, I log onto Facebook and Twitter to waste time as I wait for friends, etc. But sadly, I have noticed my social media addiction getting worse. I may tend to check in too many times or share too many photos on Facebook. I’m not sure why I feel the constant need to do it and tell everyone about it. If I haven’t checked Facebook or Twitter at least once a day, I feel so lost or I’m missing out on what’s happening. Maybe what I need to do is lose my phone for a few hours each day so I don’t lose it.
-Leonor Vivanco @lvivanco
My eating exploits are chronicled publically, so when I go to complain about my jeans being too tight, it’s impossible to deflect blame on a too-hot washer cycle. All the evidence I need is right there in my Twitter feed.
-Lisa Arnett @redeyeeats
Social media, like anything that could be bad for you, is all about moderation. I could let it consume my life, but instead, I look at it as another tool to stay in touch with my friends and family who I don't get to see often. I'll take the annoying status updates about working out from that girl I once knew in high school if it means getting to see photos of my niece playing with the picnic basket I sent her for her birthday.
-Dana Kavan @chicagodana
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC