Anti-social media: your brain on drugs

Hello again! As my previous post had mentioned, the technological infiltration of the way we function has stimulated a rapid disengagement of creative thought and quality communication. You know the addiction is spiraling out of control when the mindless wandering of the tech-savvy, millennial population is essentially beginning to mimic a real-life zombie apocalypse. Fortunately, I’ve concocted an informational antidote of good and bad sources to help you regain control of your brain.

User discretion is advised:

Facebook is the social networking platform whose success is fueled by our desire to be accepted and acknowledged by others. It has capitalized on promoting the idea that success can be completely quantifiable by diluting emotional attachment down to an unhealthy obsession with superficial validation. The attempt to document and post the play-by-play of our everyday lives in a never-ending pursuit of “likes” is causing amounting social disconnection among our population. It is ironic that the very platform we utilize as a way to enhance our social networks has actually been found to be linked to mental disorders, such as an increase in symptoms of depression that stem from social comparison.

Tumblr is a popular platform for picture-blogging that can be thought of as a more anonymous way of self-expression. Unfortunately, it’s contributing to our addiction for distraction and stunting creative development with the main feature being the “reblog” button. Though the photos only have one original source (the content creator), they contribute to our “copy-paste culture” by being reblogged onto other users’ personal pages. A dashboard containing the main feed of recycled pictures incorporates an endless scroll element that allows users to move infinitely down the page. As I’m sure you can imagine, this allows us to rapidly process large amounts of information…and forget it just as quickly. Not only does this contribute to our diminishing attention span, but constant scrolling on platforms such as Tumblr also causes spikes and drops of dopamine in our brains that is stimulated by the sporadic bouts of pleasure in trying to obtain something ultimately unobtainable. This is what feeds the technological addiction of being absent-mindedly glued to our devices, so it is best to steer clear of this media.

Tech it out:

Dose of reality: The WNYC podcast, Note to Self, describes itself as a “tech show about being human”. This podcast gives an interesting and informative perspective on the way we incorporate technology into our lives, from the many ways someone can hack your life to the prevalent problem of photo clutter. Manoush Zomorodi tests out many new technological innovations and follows up with an honest and in-depth review of the experience. She also encourages discussion by giving the listeners an opportunity to call in and comment on various topics having to do with all aspects related to technology.

Catch-all: YouTube is a video-sharing website covering pretty much any topic your heart desires. This is also a great source for everyday tips and tricks to easily improve your life, such as how to easily cut an onion without crying or how to perform open-heart surgery (though I recommend this to be something strictly informative). Whether you’re interested in weekly gym routines, cute cat videos, or meal ideas that fit your budget, YouTube has you covered.

Latest and greatest: WIRED magazine helps to keep you in-the-know with the hottest trends in technology and its impact on culture, the economy, and politics. Available both online and in print, WIRED taps into the ways technology is revolutionizing our world in terms of business, security, transportation, and science. This is a great source for an easily-digestible report on everything tech-related.

If used in the right way, various platforms of technology can be an incredible enhancement in the way we live our lives. There are an immense amount of sources that can educate, entertain, and provoke creative, as well as those that should be used with caution. Happy browsing!

Get Inspired to Get Unwired

If you are a millennial, chances are you have bought a weapon of mass destruction and in fact, you’re probably using it at this very moment. It fits in your pocket or on your desktop and it appears relatively harmless on the surface. Technology is the drug of our generation, constantly consuming up to 18 hours a day of millennial minds. The addiction is fueled through the fast-paced advantages of a thriving social network that is conveniently available at our fingertips. The mobility, accessibility, and affordability of technology has completely altered the way we live our lives, especially since we constantly crave the need to be engaged by checking our devices about 45 times a day! With the click of a button, you can share photos with all of your friends, confirm overnight shipping for a last-minute gift, and even video-chat with someone on the complete opposite side of the world. With something so powerful, how could we possibly live without it? And that is precisely the problem.

Like the majority of you, I’m definitely guilty of becoming so overwhelmingly reliant on the enhancement technology seems to have on my life that I feel anxious and lost without it. The unhealthy dependence and reliance created by this behavior is causing dehumanization by isolating us from the face-to-face contact with others. Meaningful connections developed in social relationships are dwindling through the preferred alternative of texting, emailing, and even one-night-stand dating apps. The increase in communication with family and friends via technology has strongly indicated a decrease in not only the quantity of face-to-face interactions, but the quality as well.

What we initially thought of as an enhancement to our lives is beginning to embody the complete opposite. As technology continues to advance and improve, people seem to be shifting in the opposite direction. We are forming a habit of second-guessing our instincts through the reassurance of relying in artificial intelligence. There is a global threat of disconnection from our social environment and mass destruction of creativity.

So how can we learn to recharge our minds and energize our social lives? Let’s skip the anonymous meetings and therapy sessions. My idea is quite simple: less is more. No, I’m not suggesting resorting to text-message carrier pigeons (though talk about suspense in waiting for a reply!). What the Tech is here to help encourage healthy habits of technology use for optimizing human computer interaction through bringing awareness to the ways it distracts, influences, and controls the way we live.

So put down the headphones you’ve been trying to untangle for five days and get ready to feel inspired to be unwired!