Social Media: Connection or Addiction?
Are you saying "Hi" or getting high?
Social Media is neither a gift nor is it a curse; it’s a natural progression of the human species. We’ve been working to remain connected for as long as we’ve been alive:
Drawings on Stones
Stories passed between people
Letters and Paintings
Recorded Cassette and Video Tapes
Now that we have 24/7 365 access to one another via the internet, social media, and cell phones, the question is being asked, “Is permanent connection everything we thought it would be?” because it looks to me like we’re realizing “too much of a good thing” leads to supply exceeding demand, and excess quantity is depleting any perceived quality.
The answer to the question ultimately depends on the individual, and this is where we’ll focus our attention, on getting you, the individual, to assess what it is you need and where you fall on the spectrum of enough or too much.
Before we dive into the meat of the discussion, I’d like to ask that after a month in operation, if you’re finding value from ‘The Daily Draft with Zac Small’ daily content (3x a week for those on the free plan), please share the good word, and if there’s anything I could be doing better, drop a comment below, I’ll read and respond to each.
The only way for me to upgrade the standard is to be made aware of where improvement is needed, and the only way that happens is if you, the reader, let me know. Your feedback is valuable and needed; asking for it is always weird, but I’d rather ask and improve delivery than not say anything to avoid the uncomfortable ask and allow preventable issues to continue happening.
Addiction or Connection
The best way to tell if you’re addicted to anything, but in this instance, “Social Media” is to ask yourself these three questions:
Do you struggle when you don’t have access to your phone/computer to check your profiles?
Do you get down or irritated when things you share are not given the attention you believe they should?
Are you becoming someone you think people will like over who you are to get more attention online?
If the answer to any of these questions is, “Yes” then you are correct in questioning your relationship with these platforms.
The fact that you’ll consider your internet use as being something needing to be monitored to ensure it’s serving you and you’re not a slave to it is impressive and something few do. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this - I’ve had to help several friends and associates break the digital shackles Twitter, and TikTok (others as well, but these two seem to get their hooks in deep) had on their minds to the point where they were losing their “real world” selves to the building of their internet ego.
Social media is a powerful tool that can change the entire trajectory of your life.
Social Media is the greatest tool in the fight against generational cycles, as the knowledge and connections it affords transcend the limitations physical proximity once placed on people.
This is what I mean when I say, “Connection being good or bad is dependent upon the individual”, for some people, it was social media that allowed them to break free from the Poverty, Obesity, and Violence Cycles…
Social media was the outlet that allowed an education, connection, and creation to occur in the lives of those who’d otherwise have been helpless against the cyclical nature of their environment. Nowadays, someone in a poor village can connect with the right person and find themselves creating a business, making internet money, and buying their way out of that unfortunate situation.
It’s played out too positive for too many for it to be dismissed, but similar to how some people can drink alcohol and never have an issue while others take a sip and find themselves on a 3-month bender - so too does it go for social media.
Some can take it or leave it, being a creator who spreads a message, while others are there to consume, argue, and waste time. The aim here is, obviously, to be a creator and connector on the network and not a lost soul consumed by the infinite stream of distraction and outage.
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Your real life should always be more interesting than your “internet life”, and that line must never be crossed. Don’t ever try to amplify things to be more than they are; you, the way you are, is what the world needs, and if you’re looking to be more than you are, then share that as people love to watch others go out and crush it.
Unfortunately, too many have fallen victim to the trap of "being someone they aren’t” and thus, the trust in the internet is at a pretty deep low; that should never keep you from seeing that there are others out there who are sharing their “comeback story” or one of self-improvement with others while not necessarily being where they’re trying to get to.
Just today, I dropped this:
I’m returning to school, and while there are plenty of people who have issues with college in America, I’m sharing what I’m doing and not what I think people will be in support of.
This is me, and people enjoy seeing real lives being lived, so in sharing this, I’ve shown that I’m working to be better, and that angle has already resulted in men and women reaching out both in both support and with resources to help me best prepare.
Who knows if those connections and recommendations will save me a headache later down the line? What I do know is that as a creator on the platform, there’s much less risk of getting consumed by it and having those hooks of validation and dopamine take deep root in my mind.
I have no problem leaving my phone behind, I can go a day without checking any of the platforms, and my life does not get worse when the trolls roll in, or people shit on the ideas I share. It’s about growth and connection, not depression from electronic rejection. I don’t need to be loved by the entire internet, and with there being sections dedicated to hating everything, nobody will ever achieve 100% acceptance which is okay; that’s how it works in life too.
Semi-Related Side Note: I learned how to deal with trolls and keep others from living rent-free in my mind after talking to AJA Cortes about he does it. AJAC also has a Substack you should be subscribed to here:
If you can’t get away from the screen and you can’t let it go when someone disagrees with you, it’s time to admit that you’re hooked on the platforms and need help.
Like any addiction, it comes with looking at the root cause, not the symptom.
Obsession with being liked, retweeted, shared, etc. is a symptom; your need to consistently be up to date with whatever is going on across the globe is a symptom; for most, the root cause of social media addiction is a lacking of purpose, mission, and/or vision in the physical world.
If you don’t have goals you’re chasing or a list of tasks needing to be completed, then it’s easy to lose yourself to hours of typing and scrolling, but if you do have those things, then you’re too busy to get lost on Twitter or Reels.
Build a life that pulls you away from the screens, get to where you can connect with others, get what you need, then put the phone down to go and apply what you learned while experiencing the growth which comes with meeting up and getting to know those internet connections in “real life”.
- Zac Small
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