Social Media is like a fast food restaurant where your friends hang out all the time. Whenever you go to a restaurant, all the food is free, and you can stay there for as long as you like, but you can’t bring in any outside food or beverages.
And yes, the food is delicious. It’s great to have once in a while. The whole thing is designed by scientists and marketers to be that way, and give us that hit of dopamine every single time. We all know what eating fast food everyday could do to our health, but that’s what billions of us are doing for hours a day.
“3.96 billion people use social media today, which accounts for roughly half (51%) of the global population. On average, global internet users spent 144 minutes on social media sites every day.” Social media now controls the way most of us consume our information and shapes the way we view the world. We have to very careful about how we use it.
I still remember in 2016, the day after Donald Trump was elected, driving to them gym realizing there was a whole swath of Americans I didn’t know existed. Social media and the news had fed me the exact things I wanted to hear. I gladly stepped into that echo chamber and believed that was my entire world.
Every poll I saw (or wanted to see) showed me that Hilary had a 95% chance of winning. I was blissfully ignorant until 11PM the night before when everything flipped.
This year, things are worse. We’ve started to build a deep hatred for the “other side”. We’ve become more entrenched in our world views than we did 4 years ago. And the news and social media are to blame.
Everyone is on social media, and these platforms are now controlling the information we receive. The News Feed is as much the news as chicken nuggets is made of chicken.
Social media isn’t made to inform us or connect us together. It was made so we can become addicted to their platform. The more time we spend on there, the more they can sell our attention to advertisers. And they doing a great job of it.
It’s been ten years since social media has come into our lives, and with more and more platforms competing for our attention, the more it’s become a race to the bottom to grab it. The more polarizing, the more outrageous, the more conspiratorial, the more bite-sized it could be the more effective it is at giving us the dopamine we crave.
Everyday, I work with brilliant people who want to do great work. They inspire me to do better. But in order for us to do the extraordinary things we talk about, work that is generous, creative, and brave, we have to live in an extraordinary way. Half the population is spending two and a half hours on social media. We have to do things differently.
Let’s sacrifice not being in the know.
Let’s not mistaken “connecting with friends” for addiction.
Let’s risk feeling some FOMO so that we can use our energy and time on the work that really matters.