Are you feeling overwhelmed trying to use social media to fuel your business? Today we are having a really important, but really honest conversation about social media use and whether or not it is a problem for you. Please join me as I dive into a tough conversation about how to tell if you are addicted to social media.
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Below is the transcript from this weeks episode. Check it out if you prefer to read versus listen to it!
19 | Are you Addicted to Social Media?
Hey friends! So today I’m going to be asking a really tough, but really important question.
If you’re new to this podcast, we have been having the conversation of how I believe that you can build your business without having to be a slave to social media. But today we’re going to dive into a little bit of a deeper discussion around the impacts of social media on mental health. The number one question I want to ask you is just getting to the heart of the root of the problem, which is, are you addicted to social media?
And while I think it’s easy, like many addictions to just avoid and escape the conversation and just pretend like everything’s okay. Especially if so many of us are in the same boat, I think just like any other mental health issue, and certainly this is one that is becoming more and more prevalent, more and more talked about in today’s world as it should be.
With documentaries, like the social dilemma and even Harvard research that shows the detrimental impacts that social media is having on our mental health. And essentially it all stems down from social media being an escape mechanism and ultimately an addiction for many of us, for as many as honestly, five to ten percent of Americans.
And so this is something that I think is an important conversation and hopefully it’s going to be a first step in just helping you get clear on whether or not this could be a problem for you. So this will be definitely an episode that I would love to invite you to share if you feel like somebody you know comes to mind that would want to be a part of this conversation. So just click the three little dots and copy the link to the episode and share away friends! So let’s get started!
Hey friends! All right. So today’s episode is going to be a tricky, kind of tough one, I would say, because I’m going to be asking some difficult questions that I want you guys to ask yourself and to really get introspective and kind of find out whether or not you could be addicted to social media.
So today I’m going to ask you eight questions to assess whether or not you might be taking social media just a little bit too far personally. And if so, why? It’s probably not a good idea to try to leverage social media, to build your business, if that is the case for you. So we’re going to talk a little bit about some of the research that’s been done on social media and what it literally does to our brain and how it’s essentially just as addicting as other substances, like alcohol or drugs and I’ll talk about why in just a second. But this is essentially, I know a really tough topic for some of you. And I know a lot of you guys has that been talking with y’all are looking for some resources to touch on mental health, because it’s something that’s important to you. Personally, but also probably if you have kids, I am a mom of a brand new teenager. She just turned 13 and this is something that I have experienced in our family. And maybe it’s something that you’ve experienced as well. So. Let’s dive in to this difficult conversation and I hope and pray that it serves you and your business well.
So, let me just say, this is something that has been on my heart from the minute that I shifted the podcast into how you can scale and grow your business without social media. And I was chatting with a friend and fellow sister in the company that I’m with. And we were saying that when we first started this thing, five years ago, we had a different vision of how it could grow.
And while we loved that social media kind of gave a little bit of a boost or a bonus to building our business where we have seen it kind of go for many of our friends and for our teams is essentially just really centered around this, this idea of this concept that you just have to be incredibly consistent and pump out content, spend hours and hours a day or a week to build up the social media, following in hopes of selling tens of thousands of dollars worth of whatever product that you’re, that you’re trying to sell on social media.
Okay. I know if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a minute, that that’s the conversation we’ve been having for a while.
But today we’re going to take it just a little bit deeper and touch on the super important conversation around how social media impacts our mental health and in particular, the addiction aspect of social media.
And here’s the thing that’s crazy. And there’s been a ton of research on this and I will share some helpful resources online where you can look up and find out a little bit more information about the research that’s been done on this, but essentially what social media does when you post something or when you share a story or a picture of something that’s going on in your life, whether it’s personally or in your business.
When you get an engagement or a reaction. Whether that’s a like, or a comment or you see the numbers tick up, right? Like you see the views on your, your recent Reel grow past what you typically would, notice. It triggers a dopamine reaction in your brain. So literally a pump’s a chemical that makes you happy.
And it’s exactly the same chemical reaction that happens when you take drugs like alcohol or, you know, other drugs. Which also side note, my nutritionist that I’m working with also says apparently cheese creates the same dopamine response and apparently I have an addiction to cheese, but you know what? I think I’d rather just stay addicted to cheese. But when it comes to social media, just like drugs and alcohol, and I’m going to use that analogy quite a bit. As we talk about this in the next couple episodes.
It’s sort of natural. It becomes natural for our brains to want more of whatever it is, that’s causing that dopamine reaction in your brain. Especially if you have an addictive personality. So here’s the other thing, so these dopamine triggers that happen in your brain, they’re actually higher when the conversation is about yourself. So this has been proven in just day-to-day conversation with others, that when you are talking about yourself, you get that same little dopamine hit that makes you feel like happy you makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
And in the real world, you might only talk about yourself like 30 to 40% of the time. But according to addictioncenter.com, they estimate that when you’re on social media, people talk about themselves 80% of the time. So you can see how that dopamine hit that you get when you’re talking about yourself or sharing more about it, whatever it is that’s going on in your life and getting a response and an engagement around that, that you’re going to keep getting this hit. Just like if you were to continue taking drugs. Which is kind of crazy to think about. And the other side to this when you think about the self-centeredness of that dopamine hit, when we are talking about ourselves in person or on social media.
Businesses essentially are built on relationships, which are built on trust, which is built on you talking less about yourself and learning more about the other person you’re with. Whereas social media and the natural tendency, because of the way our brains are working in this, this dopamine hit that we’re getting when we talk about ourselves and people respond or engage in it, essentially, what that’s doing is it’s not serving you or serving your business because you’re talking more about you and talking less about the people who are consuming, which is why they aren’t engaging. Which is causing this deep downward spiral of not growing your business like you want to, because you’re talking about yourself and so on and so forth. So it’s like this big spiral, social media, that is like that addiction cycle of getting that dopamine hit wanting more of it and then when you get the bigger dopamine hit, because you’re talking about yourself, and then that creates less of a reaction or an engagement because people inherently are also thinking about what they’re thinking about themselves and what they can get out of your content or what it is that you’re sharing. They’re going to engage with you less and less.
Which is essentially going to create more unhappiness and more of a reason for you to escape by leaning more into social media.
It’s also interesting to note that our attention spans are getting less and less. So when I first started sharing my business on social media five years ago, the most effective or the most, I guess, innovative way to share was to do a live video where you’re actually engaging with and having a conversation with the people who are watching you live.
You could, you know, essentially do like a get ready with me and spend time with the people or the friends that were connected with you. Whereas now, short 15 second, 30 second one minute to, I now heard that Instagram is upping their reels to, I think, 90 seconds. I believe. You know, but still 90 seconds, right? Like that’s the consumption level and the timeframe that we’re used to getting all the information thrown at us. And so people’s attention spans. They want the information immediately.
They want it as fast as possible and they want as much as possible. And so again, our brains are just like, like, this is what happens when you’re on drugs. Right? And any addiction, honestly, whether it is alcohol or even work, I had one of my mentors one time, I had a deep conviction at a, a retreat when we were getting ready to plan a huge undertaking with our team and solidifying some of our systems and working together with some other leaders. And I was so excited because I was like, yes, I get to tackle this big task! And this is going to be a lot of work, but I’m excited about it. And he called me out and he said, I want you to know if you are feeling excited about this tremendous undertaking, that is because work is your escape and it is your addiction. So just like some people escape to getting drunk on alcohol. A lot of us escape to our work, to escape from the things that are stressing us out in life, whether that’s anxiety or problems with our family. And social media is just one other facet of an escape mechanism that is fueled by addiction.
And so as I’m going to ask you these eight questions, I want you to really think about this from the fact that social media can be a good thing. Just like there can be some benefits to drinking a little bit of red wine every day, right the resveratrol, I think it is, that’s in it has been known to be healthy. Or, you know, coffee is totally addicting, but I just read an article that said that people who drink one to three cups of coffee a day, apparently have a 30% less chance of dying. So that’s good news. So certain things that can make us addicted can be a good thing. Right? But then sometimes we can take it a little bit too far. And alcohol is a great example of that.
So in today’s episode, again, we’re going to talk about the eight questions.
And I’m going to share a little bit more resources with you on how you can kind of do a gut check and find out if you might be addicted to social media. But in the episodes to come, I’m really excited to continue this conversation and I’m actually going to be sharing three options for, depending on where you fall on this addiction spectrum.
But just know that in the episodes to come, I will be sharing more specific strategic advice on what your choices are and what you can actually do about this. So, let’s get into the eight questions. So first and foremost, do you find it hard to put your phone down? For example, when you’re at dinner or if you’re out to dinner with friends, or maybe you’re just sitting on the couch with your husband or you’re spending time with kids. As we had in the summer, it’s easy to want to numb out from being with our kids all day of that, if that is you. I know I have already experienced that. But do you find it hard to turn your phone over or put it down? Put it away and not look at it for an hour or so? So that’s one sign. That’s the first question.
The second question is when you wake up in the morning is social media the first thing that you go to? Meaning do you reach over, grab your phone, pull up Instagram, or pull up Facebook.
And again, this is a habit, like many addictions are, right? But this is a clear sign that this might be becoming a problem for you if that’s the first thing you do in the morning, is you go right to social media.
Number three is, do you find yourself either overly editing or filtering a photo or trying to figure out like the best angles when you’re taking a picture of yourself?
To make you look younger, skinnier or prettier than you actually are. Which I believe, and I actually am excited about some of the images and some of the advertising, even that I’m seeing from companies that are embracing more of a realistic approach to women’s bodies, for example. And I’m seeing you know, women in bikinis that you would never have seen even just a couple of years ago, gracing the pages of target or a catalog. But now, like that’s what real women’s bodies look like, right? And I’m seeing more of that, which is awesome! And there’s nothing wrong with trying to kind of enhance or judge, I love a good light room preset. But what I’m seeing, especially with our teenagers, is a lot of times people will overly edit or filter their photos because they are trying to portray themselves as some sort of ideal version of beauty. When we each have our own inherent versions of beauty. And I think people are craving realism.
So if you find yourself always wanting to edit or filter your photos or if you’re obsessively, trying to figure out those best angles to look younger or whatnot. That could be a problem for you, or could, could show that social media is a little bit of a mindset problem for you.
Okay. Number four is, does your mood go up or down based off of the engagement or whatever results you get on social media? So do you find that like say you, you take time to create a real, and you’re really excited about it. You feel like it’s it, you know, people are going to really resonate with it. You enjoyed it. You took a lot of time to do it, and then you post it and nobody sees it.
Which first of all, what even is nobody I have heard people complain about my real only got a thousand views.
Well, yes. That might not be the 10,000 views that you have gotten in the past from another real, but that’s a thousand eyeballs that are listening to and consuming whatever it is that you’re sharing. So where do these metrics and where do these numbers that we are basing it off of come into our brains.
Guess what? It’s comparing to someone else who’s having higher engagement, which there’s always going to be somebody with more, right? So do you find that it impacts your mood when you get the results of the engagement from what you post. That’s a surefire way to know that social media is impacting your mental health.
Number five. Do you find that your Toc just automatically chooses open the app? Like where you’re mindlessly going to, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Tik, TOK. Or gosh, I mean, this even happened to me, you guys, I admitted in a previous episode that while I’m not posting and sharing my life on social media and certainly not sharing my, my business on social media.
I do hop on there every once in a while, because I do sometimes have that same FOMO that we all experience and I couldn’t believe it the other morning, I found myself getting sucked into like a 45 minute Tik TOK. Like I’m not even really on Tik TOK, but somehow I mindlessly went to the app and scrolled for probably 45 minutes watching like furniture make-over posts.
And like, that’s not healthy. Like there’s so many better uses of that 45 minutes of my time. And to be quite honest, I probably just need to delete the apps. Which we’ll talk about that again, in my strategies, in the next episode for what you can and should do, if this is becoming a problem for you.
But if you find that your brain is automatically like, without even thinking about it, going to the apps. That could be a sign that you are becoming addicted.
Number six, is your usage increasing? So, are you adding more and more options? Like, do you get excited about like a new version? I just heard about something called B- Reel and I’m not gonna lie, I was totally tempted to download it, just to try it out and see.
But apparently it’s yet another app that’s meant to create a little bit more realism around what people post, as opposed to these like highly edited, curated content pieces says that take a good bit of time to create. Instead, I think when you, from what I understand, when you log on, you have to take the photo of whatever it is that you’re doing within, is it four minutes? I think it might even be quicker than that, of doing it. So the idea is that it creates more of a realistic sense of what someone’s doing in their life.
But guess what? It’s still one more option. One more escape. One more thing to add on and suck our time. Right? Because it’s going to no doubt, be a time suck.
Okay. So is your, usage increasing? So this can be either adding more options or it can also be, if you go to your screen time and you’re finding that you are spending more and more time on a particular app, like Tik TOK or Instagram or whatever it is. Like the, again, you’re, you’re mindlessly sucking away the time that could be spent with your family or on your business and other productive, fruitful areas.
Instead you are spending more and more time on these social media apps.
Number seven. Do you experience withdrawal symptoms? Which sounds kind of crazy, but you guys, this is true when you try not to log on for a day or two. So what that can look like, and actually, I remember my sweet sister-in-law, we’re getting ready to go to the beach in Florida next week. And I remember, I think it was last year that she lost her phone. It was just in a piece of luggage, but she lost it for a few days. And while we didn’t talk about this, I’m sure at the beginning, she probably experienced some of those withdrawal symptoms where, you know, she’s like, feeling the need to post.
But within, I think like less than a day, she felt this freedom and weight of not having to be constantly tied to her phone. And so if you experience withdrawal symptoms, if you were to lose your phone or misplace it or not log on for a day or two or even worse, if it’s again for a dinner or a part of a day. And you feel those restless feelings you give into the temptation. That could be another sign that you are getting a little bit addicted.
And then lastly, number eight, do you find yourself engaging in virtual only relationships that hinder your mindset? And what I mean by that is, you know, it can be like the darkness sucks us in, right? Like we are all prone to drama and gossip.
And it, it just sucks us in. Whereas like we have to intentionally go to the light and the good things, and there’s so much negativity out there on social media. And you can, if you’re not careful, you can get in arguments in the comment section, you can, you know, get a troll comment on a piece of content you created that can just send you into a spiral of negative thinking or worse, like engaging in you know, an argument with, with someone like a troll that is posting some negative things. Or you can even go down these rabbit holes of just negative things that, again, like your, your time and your energy could be so much better spent focusing on something productive. Like listening to a personal development podcast, like what you’re doing right now.
So. I just, you know, I want to encourage you if you’re finding yourself that you’re living in this virtual world. And a lot of the relationships that you have are based just on social media and engaging with people, through things like the comment section or the DMS, like those, aren’t going to strengthen your relationships in life, which again are going to lead to business for you.
Because again, business is built on relationships. And relationships are built on trust. And it’s really difficult to build those kinds of trust and relationships when you are just experiencing them and like with little quick words and things like that on comments, especially if it’s a negative conversation.
Okay. So I hope that these eight questions help to get a little bit introspective about whether or not this could be a problem for you. And I want to share a little bit of homework for you guys to dig a little bit deeper, as of course, this is not something that I have come up with myself. This is again, there’s been research and tons of other people talking about this in the space and I think it needs to be talked about more and I am excited to be kind of opening the door to this conversation and so your homework is going to be; number one to head over to the show notes, which you can just tap the your screen and sometimes there’s three little dots and go to more info about this podcast. And in the show notes, I’m going to share a link to a social media addiction questionnaire. So this is on, it’s a block survey website, and the link is too long for me to say it on here. So I’m going to need you to go into the show notes and click on it. And there’s a little quiz that will help, you know, a little bit further. If you might have a problem with social media addiction. So that’s your homework. Number one.
Number two, and we’ve done this homework a few times, but I think it’s important to continually do it. I want you to go to screen time on your phone, and I want you to look at the stats of where and how you are spending your time on social media. Are you finding that again? You’re getting sucked into hours of mindless escapism into some of these apps.
Do you find if you compare say this week to last week, or I think you can even look at it month to month, but do you find that your screen time is growing for social media? And let’s just take some time to get really introspective because again, next week, I’m going to share three different areas that I would say most of us fall into.
One being someone who is truly addicted and therefore needs to take a social media detox.
Number two, someone who maybe doesn’t have a problem with it, but is finding themselves a little bit, moderately addicted. This is exactly where I was and finding that it was maybe taking away more of the mental space and clarity and it was taking away more than it was adding to the business.
And then lastly, there are some of you guys who social media is a perfect platform to build your business. So we’re going to talk about all three of those next week. And I can’t wait for this conversation to continue. So thanks again for listening. And don’t forget, you can hop on over to the scale without social for female entrepreneurs, Telegram thread. That is a group where we are just continually sharing the journey together and you can get the link to it by texting the word podcast to 9 1 2 4 0 5 8 9 1 2. And I am so thankful for you listening today to this important conversation and I can’t wait to hear what you think!