The stress of social media
WhatsApps. Facebook messages. Texts. Calls. Instagrams. Snapchats. Tweets.
Will we ever be free from the constant stream of notifications? The headache caused by your phone beeping and vibrating 24/7? Being contactable whenever and wherever you are?
Don’t get me wrong, I’d find it really difficult to be sociable without social media. It would be extremely hard to keep in contact with friends and family, especially if they live far away. Organising meet-ups would be a nightmare – imagine having to set a date in writing or in person, weeks in advance. What would happen if you were running late? You wouldn’t even be able to ping your friends a text to let them know. Events on Facebook and WhatsApp group messages have made organising everything so easy. They’ve enabled spontaneity – if it’s a sunny day, why not go for a picnic in the park? Without notifications about the weather, an app for maps on your phone or a Facebook group message to invite your friends and decide who should bring strawberries and who should bring crisps, where would we be? Stuck at home, wishing we’d predicted good weather today when we last saw our friends in person.
But I find social media stressful. If you’re not checking your phone at least every half an hour, you might miss out on something important or fun. If you don’t message that friend you haven’t seen in a while, they might think you’ve forgotten about them. If you don’t remember to shower your bestie with ugly selfies, you might not keep up that Snapchat streak!
If you’re meant to be doing homework, can you resist the temptation to check why your phone is flashing? If you have friends round and there’s a lull in conversation, are you tempted to tap out a quick reply to your friend on the other end of the internet rather than playing a game with your friends on the sofa next to you?
In the 21st century contact is quicker and easier, but that doesn’t mean we have more free time. If anything, the opposite. The ability to send a quick message to one friend means we have time to send one to five others, and before you know it you’re having five conversations at once. How can you really concentrate on any of them? And if your Twitter or Instagram feed is buzzing, why bother going outside to kick a football about or signing up for music lessons? You’re entertained enough – you just never have time to relax, let off steam, enjoy the world. Try leaving your phone at home and doing something productive, maybe even alone, today – you might feel all the better for it.