Do you refresh your timeline on Facebook and Twitter feed every 15 minutes? Are you a serial 'liker' or 're-tweeter'? Do you log in to social media sites compulsively to update yourself with what's on?
If the answer to the above three questions is 'yes', you're not alone. In some way or the other all of us have become slightly (or majorly) obsessed with the vicious circle of social media.While it may look as a sign of our present times, in reality it is a desperate need to feel good enough. Social media instils in us a sense that the number of likes we get, the better we feel.
Being socially active is no more a need, but a compulsion. Acting on this impulse we spoke to a cross-section of youth who have intentionally de-activated their social media accounts to get rid of the undue information overload and connect with their real selves.
It all started when young people got hooked to Facebook for many reasons - making new friends, reconnecting with the old friends, joining confession pages to stay tuned to gossip. Today, the trend is shifting, while many have deactivated their accounts, others have stopped the urge to log in for a variety of reasons.
Shruti Mehrotra, a pharmacy professional working at Ranbaxy, says, "I was very active on Facebook. When I got married, I did not want undue comments or compliments from my friends. I wanted to invest time in my relationship than satisfying the curiosity and compulsion to post pictures. Therefore, I deactivated my account and have not found the time to log in again."
Sumit Arora, who works with an IT firm in Chandigarh, wanted to get over his past after dating a few girls. Things on Facebook were getting complicated. To avoid further troubles, Sumit limited his usage for professional networking only.
Fresh out of college, Tushar did not get placed, while his friends got plum jobs with reputed firms. To save himself from undue grief and negativity, as he puts it, Tushar deactivated his account.He says, "While most of my friends secured good jobs, I have no offer in my kitty. To avoid unnecessary questions and getting depressed, it is better to stay away."
Clinical psychologist Dr Adarsh Kohli at Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research says, "Being hooked on these sites takes us away from the real world and one-on-one interactions. It is one of the major concerns of psychologists as withdrawal symptoms like any other addiction are difficult to get away from. Control and discipline is necessary to get rid of this constant need to be logged-on the internet."
Dr Kohli adds, "It is a negative and unhealthy trend as people avoid physical communication and put status messages that reveal their state of mind."
How to detoxify, digitally?
Judicious use of social media sites and not being over dependent on them needs logical thinking. Sometimes, people with emotional problems read too much into a status and get disturbed or influenced by such comments. Psychologists suggest diversion in a positive manner:
*One can pursue yoga or meditation to get rid of stress.
*Get a pet or indulge in hobby such as gardening, listening to music, joining a book club or meeting friends to pass time.
* If you are a social media feedback junkie, lay off from the "refresh" button.
n*If you really have to check your email or stay connected for logical reasons, fix a time and stick to the limit to stop going astray.