Social media is not just slightly like an “actual” addiction akin to drugs, alcohol, and various others. Some reasons I find I continually come back to social media and continue posting, most of which I know are extremely unhealthy due to the backing reasoning.
1. I’m sometimes lonely in the real-world. I have few friends in this country. I’m an immigrant (it’s interesting that most North Americans call themselves “expats” when settling abroad but call like-situations in their home country “immigration”) from a continent that’s often despised here for their political intervention, entitlement, and qualification as higher-quality people (1st-World vs. 3rd-World) I am often ostracized, ignored, or secretly resented, whether due to perception or reality from person in-question. Coupled with the fact I’m now 46 and set in my ways, it’s hard to make friends here….I really don’t have any in the stereotypical definition of the word, so I stay to myself. The Internet offers an escape from this, especially when things aren’t going well at home, which they can’t always. My color/nationality, outspokenness, comfort in my masculinity, and unwillingness to settle in a “safe/protected” expat community of other North Americans have generally isolated me from acceptance.
2. I find a kinship with other people of like mind, both inner-industry and life-perspective. I find many don’t think the way I do nor have my same views on all things self-defense-related or with life-outlook. Online I get a fix of this, where I’ve found some people I generally like, trust, and can talk to.
3. Addiction itself. I continue to go back out of pattern, routine, reflex. When there’s a gap in my time, I instinctively see what’s going on online. I post thoughts. I crave feedback. I like being “liked.” I am respected here where, outside of seminars/workshops/classes/consultations – generally my own niche, I may not be in the real-world.
4. The false view I’m making some small difference and that I’m important or impactful. While less than the others, there is the small flame in the back of my mind that I and cohorts like me, may be having a positive effect on the way self-defense and personal protection are being thought of…and it’s untrue. Huge industry, microscopic niche. However, impact is both a moral/value-driven positive and a self-delusional/ego-driven negative. I have an ego and like to think people pay attention to what I say, which in the grand scheme of things, few do. That’s the reality and my ego is inevitably moot, but we all need, crave, and maybe even deserve to be accepted in some way, through some avenue.
In conclusion, none of these are healthy, productive reasons to waste as much time on the Internet as I do, yet I do. Why? I have a wonderful marriage. Great, loving, big-hearted kids. A solid business that I enjoy. A jungle-like garden and immediate accessibility to nature right outside my front door. Hobbies and passions that I’m good at. Good parents. Yet I cannot seem to break entirely from being trapped in the Matrix. While it’s easy to say that balance is key and none of us want to get left behind in the information age, I have recently found myself deeply-concerned at the long-term effects of prolonged and conditioned social media use. There’s a niggling intuition in the back of my mind that there are costs to this. Costs that can end up being quite high. It may be only a “I’m-getting-older-and-I-don’t-want-to-waste-precious-time-online-doing-things-that-are-generally-useless-with-many-people-I-don’t-know-in-real-life-whatsoever” vibe (I’m sure we’ve all thought this at some point)….or maybe something more sinister that, when combining the illogical reasons I can come up with above with the side-effects listed in Part 1, has consequences that are unknown and, therefore, disconcerting to me. Something to ponder for each of us.