What is social currency

When likes become the new currency

Social Media - Apr 4th 19

I like the world as I like it. Social networks are an integral part of our professional and private everyday life. We network in virtual space. We share photos, tweets or messages every day and express our favor with likes. Every notification has been proven to trigger happiness hormones. This increases the appeal of being constantly available. But where does the healthy use of social media end and where does excessive use begin?

The smartphone has now become our most important companion and in many ways replaces the PC or laptop. Individual communication comes first: WhatsApp is the most widely used mobile application for many. But how much connectivity is good for us? Many give their smartphone the first and last look of the day. The blue light of the display has an impact on health. If we look at the screen shortly before going to bed, this interferes with the release of the hormone melatonin, which in turn prevents us from falling asleep. However, many of us use the smartphone as an alarm clock, so touch it every evening and don't put it in another room.

Fear Of Missing Out

The fear of missing out on something can lead to excessive use of social networks. There is now a fixed term for this: FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out describes the need to constantly update the networks. But is there an addiction to social media? Christiane Eichenberg, graduate psychologist and head of the Institute for Psychosomatics at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, gives a classification: “Social media addiction is part of Internet addiction and is therefore one of the non-substance-related addictions, also known as behavioral addictions. In research we discovered that neurophysiological processes in the brain of Internet addiction are comparable to those in substance-related addiction, such as alcohol or drug addiction. Therefore, the dependence on social media can also be called addiction. "

However, a clear diagnosis is not that easy to make. Therefore, the term addiction should be used cautiously. In most cases, these are so-called problem users who meet some, but not all, of the criteria for the diagnosis of "Internet addiction", but have some symptoms. Addicted users can no longer control their usage behavior. A “tolerance development” increases the need for more and more extensive Internet use and those affected play down the problem to themselves as well as to friends and family. They lose more and more interest in previous activities and turn away from their social environment in real life. The consequences are feelings of guilt and fear, which exacerbate the vicious circle.

Connect the virtual and real world

In principle, however, one shouldn't demonize social networks, believes Christiane Eichenberg: “The combination of real life and social networks, for example keeping in contact with friends via social media and still meeting them, is much less addictive than an exclusively social design Relationship over the Internet. "

Natanja Marija Grün, Social Media Specialist at IKEA Germany, sees exactly this opportunity that virtual networks offer for real networking and activity in the real world. She doesn't feel pressured when she sees other people's content: “Others tend to motivate me. I used to prefer to sit at home, now I like to travel and do sports, and meet people who have the same interests or who inspire me - friendships often develop from it offline. "

Christiane Eichenberg: “Social media addiction is part of internet addiction and is therefore one of the non-substance-related addictions, also known as behavioral addictions. Click to tweet

Take time out

The more digital the world of work around us, the more important offline activities become for our mental health. No wonder that “digital detox” is currently in vogue. “Digital detoxification” deliberately creates times without a smartphone and counteracts the need to be up-to-date. We fight stress and learn again to interact outside the internet. But is it that easy? We are used to sharing everyday experiences online. Going on vacation without Instagram photos? Is it possible to go to the gym without tweeting about it?

For PR manager Verena Bender (PRleben.de), the time in Thailand or on a weekend trip to the North Sea is far too good to spend on social media. “For me, vacation is smartphone-free time. Of course, I take photos or short videos of beautiful places, but don't share them until I return. On vacation I don't want to see what the others are doing either and I never scroll through any feeds or stories. "

Digital detox apps show how much time we spend with the smartphone and help to reduce it. As a matter of course, we do things on the smartphone that are easily possible in analog form. For smartphone-free moments, for example, we can use a classic alarm clock or write appointments in a printed calendar.

Last but not least, we should say goodbye to the idea of ​​having to be available always and everywhere. We have often developed an expectation of receiving feedback immediately and responding to it quickly. But if we differentiate between urgent and unimportant messages and switch off push notifications for individual apps, we change this way of thinking and reduce stress.

If you want to remove the smartphone a bit from everyday life and concentrate more on things outside of the screen, you will find a lot of inspiration under the hashtags #digitaldetox and #achtsamkeit. But be careful: don't scroll through too long J