Well, there it goes. Internet is addictive and social media even more. That’s pretty much a conclusion of the new study conducted by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media and the Public Agenda and the Salzburg Global Seminar’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. The scientists deprived heavy internet users of any contact with the internet, mobile, iPads, Twitter, Facebook, emails and so on for 24 hours.
The students were allowed to read books, take notes in diaries but had no connection to any kind of hi-tech internet technology. Surprisingly, the volunteers quickly started exhibiting some dangerous syndromes, which are typical for alcohol and drug addictions. Those symptoms were not only psychological but also physical (anxiety, fear, coldness, feeling of isolation, feeling of “being on a diet”).
Isn’t it scary? Now imagine this. Let’s assume that you work as a social media marketer for some agency or company and spent your entire days by heavily using Twitter, Facebook or StmbleUpon to promote products and services online. So what happens when you leave your company or retire? Well, you get a mental breakdown and have to spend your pension on a rehab program (almost like Amy Winehouse). But can you sue your company for damages? Well, that’s another interesting question.
Now let’s ask a more pertinent one. Knowing that the social media can get you into mental and physical addiction (possibly ending in an emotional break-down), shouldn’t all of the social media websites have a warning signs like those on the cigarettes? For example: “The more frequently you use Facebook the bigger likelihood of you getting divorced” or “Heavy use of Twitter can cause you mental and physical disease.” And shouldn’t those signs be of the size of one third of the layouts?