Monday, July 30, 2012

Facebook and Social Media Addiction

Several months ago I was with a group of seven people in a restaurant where we had gathered to have lunch.  I was looking forward to visiting with them and enjoying their company.

After we were all seated at the table waiting for the food to arrive, someone pulled out their cell phone.  Then another.  Then another.  It continued until six of the seven at the table had their phones out.  Please understand, no one had received a call, but they all pulled their phones out.  Why? To check Facebook, twitter, or send text messages.

As I sat there looking at this unfold, it dawned on me that I heard no conversations taking place at the table.  No laughing.  No visiting.  Every single person at the table was looking down at their cell phone screen!  Doing what, I have no idea. 

What stood out to me the most was that everyone was not talking to the person right in front of them, but instead were engaged in something else, that, for some reason seemed to be more important.  Nobody was in the moment.  They were all somewhere else.  Here we were, a group of friends who should have been laughing, talking, and enjoying each other’s company.  Yet, the table was silent because everyone was online, someplace else, instead of engaged with the people right in front of them.

Social media can become obsessive and consuming,  if not addictive.  There’s even a term for it now, Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) and is defined as spending too many hours online or the inability to distance oneself from Facebook.  Whether you agree with this psycho-babble or not, I read that there are 350 million people who have these symptoms.  And more than 30% of Facebook users use their Smart Phone to check Facebook even before they get out of bed!

Forget the fancy name, and look at the facts.  Many of us spend too much time looking at friends through a computer screen rather than over coffee.  When a person’s online life becomes as important as their real one, something very important has been lost in a relationship.


James Wheelus said...

The begining of cyborg communications! All this human communcation and interaction converted to a digital / reproducible format!

Ron said...

Ha! Resistance is futile. We will be assimilated.