YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY vs YOUR HEALTH

There is that sound again… the indication of another notification from one of your Social Media platforms. Question is: what do you do?

Are you one of the 60+% of people in the world who immediately and impulsively grab your mobile and check that notification? If so, your dependency on automatically looking what the notification is about, may be an indication that you are suffering from what is called Social Media Addiction.

It is always easy to slap a label onto something, so even though it may seems straight forward, let’s dive deep into the what and why of this human matter.

WHAT IS ADDICTION

To kick start this article, let’s see how dictionary.com explains the word, or symptom (as it is often called): “Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity”. 

Take note, that the word activity is included in the explanation. After all, attending to your social feeds is an activity - something that are done fairly regular. 

WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS 

Being spurred on by a post I read on It’s Time To Log Off it is clear that an overwhelming amount of people in the world are suffering from SMA (social media addiction). You may read this and think “oh well, this is not me”, but please take note: if you find it (rather) difficult not to respond to notifications by checking your feeds immediately or constantly recording/typing content for your sites, then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. It is very possible that you are one of the 60+% in the world.

Let’s look at such a scenario from a different angle: how do you feel when you discover you have no signal to receive incoming alerts on your mobile device? That anxious feeling, together with not being able to post any content, can have a negative effect on your wellbeing. For instance, you may end up feeling down in the dumps, frustrated (to say the least) and/or even get really angry. These emotions, due to the lack of not being able to connect as such, spells danger. 

HOW TO COMBAT YOUR HABIT

There is a possibility one can argue that the existence of social sites are created to get you hooked. Albeit this being a very strong suggestion, take a minute and think clearly about it. One could easily find some truth in that statement. Going back to the explanation of addiction, hooked is exactly how people end up if they can’t leave their devices alone.  

Time, within the technology world, luckily moves at a speed almost as fast as light. Nowadays applications (Apps) are created to help people curb the time they spend on electronic devices. Assisted by those within the medical environments, these helpers are there to do exactly that. The crux lies within ones own decision to turn them on

The mere fact that institutions are making decisions to create electronic help, can be a clear indication that the statement about sites vs deliberate, obsessive behaviour may not be as far fetched as we want to believe. 

Changing the screen time  applications’ settings to on is one way to minimise your activities online. Another very simple, and effective, solution is to take a firm stand and cancel all notification alerts. Of course this can be seen by many as a drastic measure, but let’s keep our eyes on the longterm effects. There are clear indications that your health will improve when one exercise less negative emotions in life. Specially when it comes to the dependency on feedback such as likes from followers. 

Obviously, when one cancels a certain daily ritual, a gap is created and therefore the need to fill it is inevitable. Why not get back to good, ol’ natural remedies such as go outside and breathe in fresh air? Pick up a book, read and turn pages with your fingers (instead of swiping) and better still… talk to someone face to face. Let’s be honest, the possibilities are endless. It is only a matter of looking around and not focussing on a small screen in front of you. 

CONCLUSION

“I am going to take a hiatus from social media” is a line very often used in social media posts. However, are many of those really sticking to their words?

But that is exactly what you want them to do, you may say pointing your finger at me. Yes, that is what I’m on about - however, my questions still remains: Do They Really Do That?

My believe is that many online influencers/activists, etc. are confused by the words taking a break. Time and time again I witness regulars on social sites claiming the proverbial gone fishing scenario only to discover a few minutes/hours later they are in full glory, camera front facing and happily chatting away live to the world. And where do I see this happening? On various social media platforms that offers a stories or live function, where else! 

That  hiatus didn’t last long, right? “No, no, no, Evan, I am taking a break from publishing any work related content. I am away with my family at a beach resort. I am teasing your taste buds with the delicious food we’re eating?” Or the other classic: “I am building my personal brand on social platforms! Presence is what it is all about”.

I am afraid such individuals need to stop kidding themselves. That kind of behaviour is not leaving social media alone for a period of time. Purely because you change your content does not make it less of a habit.  Publishing your absence loud and clear is exactly what it should be. Stick to your guns - most importantly, show your audience you’re a sincere human focussed on many other opportunities than the matter in your hand

Content on platforms are important, don’t get me wrong. However, the content  is not what causes the addiction. The inability to see the wrong doing, is the underlining cause for concern, in my opinion. The bottom line is to first realise the habit and how damaging it is - and only then serious change can take place. 

I will leave you with some honest advice: Take A Well Deserved Break from Social Media and do Your Future Self a favour. Ultimately, enjoy the sunset views… taste the delicious food… have a great, fun time away from normality. It will do you the world of good. 

And finally a cheeky suggestion: share those taking-a-break-memories with us all by creating and publishing a digital album on your return. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

BROADENING YOUR SKILLS

How do you feel about gaining new information? Is it an exciting prospect? The ability to extend your knowledge of a subject can be daunting, however if you approach it with the right mindset you can walk away feeling very satisfied. 

For me the words of Vincent van Gogh sums it up beautifully:

Learning, or educating myself, has always given me a great sense of achievement. 

THE URGE TO KNOW

When the decision was made to startup on my own, there were quite a few elements that I knew too little about. One way to obtain that information was to sign up to a course or three and let others be a guide. Nothing wrong with that. However, to seek out the information on your own accord somehow always is so much more fulfilling. Therefore I tackled the proverbial bull by the horns and educated myself in the areas I lacked knowledge in. 

THE LEARNING CURVE

With the worldwide web at our finger tips nowadays it is much easier than years ago to get hold of answers to all our questions. It takes some research, but persevere and one will find what one is looking for. What could, or most likely will happen, is that you will find bits here, there and everywhere. The fun part (to put it mildly) is to then put it together like a puzzle. First, one finds the pieces with a straight edge and/or the corner pieces and before you know it the border (or outline) is all in place. To follow is to fill in the middle section and voila! your picture is complete. All pieces slotted in and you’re sitting back looking at a complete visual. In other words, you have conquered the assignment of learning how to perform a certain task within your business.

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Once the know how is firmly in your head, it is time to put your new found knowledge into action. Best bit of advice at this stage is to get going immediately since the information is still very fresh. Practice, practice and then some more practice. Repetition is known to cement actions within us. Once you leave the new facts and skills at the door the inevitable is sure to happen - when you return to put it all to work, most will be a haze and you will need to start again to remind yourself.  

THE CONCLUSION

To study or learn on your own takes a lot of effort and determination. You need to be proactive and resilient at all times. For me it works. Currently there is a new venture on the cards and instead of signing up to expensive courses how to achieve this I am taking matters in my own hands. Yes, I do attend webinars, seminars and talks to get some guidance, but at the end of the day it’s up to me. Some will call it the hard way. Others won’t understand why the narrow, steep road is more attractive. 

Each to their own I say. It is not a matter of making it unnecessarily difficult for oneself, it is much more about achieving something where there was originally no knowledge of in my head. As a strong believer in one can do whatever you put your mind to, it’s obvious this is the preferred route for me. That moment you reach the end of the rainbow and find your pot of gold is priceless. To sit back and look at the finished task you did with the complete new set of tools in your head, is beyond satisfying. Once you experienced that feeling, I bet you will want it again and again. Believe me the feeling is that wonderful. 

If you felt some affinity towards this topic please comment and share your thoughts. If you’re in need of mentoring about educating yourself get in touch and lets talk.

 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Have you got the thirst for learning? Is gaining information something that inspires you? If like me, you most certainly would answer yes and agree with the subject line (a quote from Francis Bacon). Those 3 wise words speak volumes.

WHY LEARN MORE

When the decision was taken to give Entrepreneurship a go the first thing that came to mind was to educate myself more about my choice of ventures. The need was there for tools to take on this mission of being my own boss. The only way forward seemed to seek knowledge which in return should (hopefully!) pay off.

WHERE TO LEARN

To further your schooling career and life as a university or college student the next platform is not far away at all. With the brilliance of the Internet at our fingertips nowadays it actually isn’t that difficult - or expensive - to gain guidance. No need to sign your life away committing to a bundle of years at institutions. As someone who did the whole further education bit years ago, this discovery was more than an eye opener. It is obvious that the world wide web has incredible information to offer and just how much can be gained for free was astonishing.

WHAT LEARNING IS AVAILABLE

The variety of teaching on the web is quite overwhelming - understandably so. Millions out there offer to share their knowledge with those of us who seek it. And why not? At the end of the day for some it is a very lucrative business. On the other hand many gain satisfaction purely by sharing what they’ve learned. One platform that can offer such learning is that of Webinars. The fascinating world of webinars is exactly that - fascinating. Topics on offer spread oceans wide. You can literally sign up to learn about almost anything in the world. What remains for you to do is to be… selective.

WHICH LEARNING SOLUTION

As a person with the tendency for a short attention span the need to gain information quickly is order of the day, The discovery of webinars was great. This platform offers most of the time a 60 minute window of opportunity to learn. 

There are mainly 2 different webinars. Those who aim to tease you with a few facts only to offer you their solution to the topic at a price towards the end of the session. The other, a far more impressive and satisfying route, is where successful individuals are happy to share at no cost what they have learned. They are delighted to show you how to avoid potholes and overcome hurdles during your new journey. Also what they did to penetrate obstacles - like the proverbial brick wall.

Such webinars, as far as one has learned, are far and few in-between. One institution that so far stands out is Entrepreneur. Combining visuals/slides with a live webcam (most of the time) showing the presenter of the session make a great platform to learn from. It is also known for keeping it short and sweet which means come 60 minutes it’s over and done with. Jill Schiefelbein and Ryan Bilello  are another two favourites. They share their knowledge and expertise casually not pushing the sales pitch as such. Plain honesty and to the point. Exactly what ticks the box for me.

FINALLY 

There is nothing wrong with offering a paid programme/course to those whom are logging in online - it is after all your business, your rules, your time. We all need to make money to survive. Personally, the point is that as a startup funds are limited - very limited to be honest. Therefore it is great to get the opportunity to learn and be educated how to progress without having to fork out handfuls of money to move forward. 

As an ardent webinar attendee the most satisfaction is gained by being selective to whom you tune into. The more webinars you attend the easier it is to realise within the first few minutes if this presenter is going to spend as much if not more time on selling his/her product rather than focus on educating you. 

There are obvious many platforms out there that provide learning with no price tag at all. If anyone is happy to share their knowledge of institutions/individuals that go along this route of sharing info, please get in touch. It will be great to discover and connect with more such like-minded people. 

After all, one cannot learn enough. Expertise is a combination of learning and doing. And of course included are a substantial amount of failing… don’t let it scare you - the best part about failing is to learn from your mistakes.