Your Facebook page or Instagram Story! Your Snapchat story! And so on, until all you have is a tickler taut shit-stick scrolling memory to haunt your mind with. You have too much stuff, and as a result your life is too short. Or so you think.
Increasingly, there’s science to back your concerns. University of Edinburgh psychologists found that we go weeks without having a clear idea of when we’ve seen or read a post (one-in-five people who have seen a screenshot for more than a week don’t know). According to the study published in the Journal of Empirical Psychology, Facebook check-ins are the number one reason that users fail to “delete stuff” (another word for “unfollow friends”).
And let’s not even get started on social media chats. A team of researchers including Dr Liza Fruchter, of the University of Michigan, have found that chats – which normally involve using a computer to hold a message for someone to read back later – are, in fact, the most frequent form of “time diversions”.
Once you get on social media, you are no longer the control freak you were before. You have been co-opted by a machine designed to keep people talking, sharing, tweeting, emailing and texting, so to make yourself feel connected to everyone else, you have been forced to open your mouth. We all know that having been in a bus station with a dozen people flocking around, it’s very difficult to behave like your angry, fat self without offering a witty comeback, feeling like you are helping others to find love and feeling like you are helping to build a better world. But in our new world where we can only maintain and reflect on our own lives by scrolling on, the urge to comment on or like anyone else’s can become stronger. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many women tell surveys that social media is what they rely on to feel connected to friends and family.
It is important to check in with yourself. Listen to your own voice. Stop feeding the machine. Unless you are a Snapchat star, take a moment to unplug and think about who you are and what you want to say. Once you take that break, remember that Facebook doesn’t have to be the lone-wolf, instigator, instigator that it is.
As long as you move your finger over the keyboard without pushing the likes or comments counter, and you are able to say things to the people in your life as you wish, you can keep social media free from being a tetchy bore – and you will enjoy your life.