IT Chimes Blog

Social Media: Addiction, obsession and more

February 17, 2012

Are you hooked to your smartphone, tablet, laptops or personal computers? Is the urge to access your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social networks making you anxious? Well then all I can say is Welcome to the Gang!

Social media and social networking has become a vital part of our lives. Daily dose of Facebook and Twitter is a must to keep us all going. And as the day proceeds, the urge to peep into the latest updates, tweets and just anything on the social-media takes over. It of course comes in with its share of pros and cons.

Recently a research was conducted in the German city of Wurtzburg, on the sample of 205 people aged between 18 and 85 to test their will power. The sample group used BlackBerry mobile phones. This research was steered by Wilhelm Hofmann and his team from Chicago University’s Booth Business School.


The research was conducted with a motive to determine the power of social media to render people powerless. However, the fact that came up at the end of the study may appear startling to some. Participant could not keep themselves at bay from the internet proving that checking emails and social media is more compelling and addictive than alcohol and smoking. In the experiment participants were asked seven times a day over the course of a week to identify desires they were experiencing and the strength of said desires.

Though the need for sleep and leisure topped the list of “self-control failure rates”, checking in with social media, email and work came ahead of the urge to have a Camel Light, while sipping on that glass of 12-year single malt scotch.

Social media is ruling our lives. From satisfying egos, to settling scores, tracking others lives, personal networking, fulfilling business needs et al social media has diverse roles to play every day spanning geographies and cultures.

The addiction to social media is also to blame for the sudden and altered psychological, behavioral, personality, attitude and outlook change in an individual. By and large users fancy about constantly updating their status messages. They think it to be cool and see no wrong in staying online for most part of the day. Social media has created hype, a kind of madness on the minds of users.

Though youngsters and aged alike identify themselves with the new age networking trend, they seem to be getting obsessed for no genuine reason. Updating minute details about their daily chores and routine activities is certainly out of context of the so-called social networking zone. Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and Digg etc have indeed invaded our personal, professional and social lives.

The flurry of Smartphones hitting markets like virus at an affordable price and the highly volatile industry offering irresistible apps are acting as catalysts. Most people now-a-days use the online social platforms as a stage to gain instant fame and recognition amongst peer groups.

The repetition of this activity creates a loop and this loop gets highly addictive. The addiction to social media is so intense that a user loses his control on the will to refrain, that leaves him hanging around with his gadget. Excessive use of social networking sites is a taxing process. The constant use of liking, unliking, commenting, tweeting et al physically and mentally drains a user which in fact diminishes his ability and quality of work.
Social media addiction is the colloquial effect of the tech savvy era that we all belong to where face -to-face conversations have been taken over by Facebook, Gtalk and Skype conversations and networking in the virtual world of the internet has engulfed the concept of socializing in person.

“Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not cost much to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist,” said lead researcher Wilhelm Hofmann of the Booth Business School.

The results of the research study will soon be published in the journal titled Psychological Science.

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