Mindful Social Media

Mindful Social Media 
BFA Student: Liam Lee
Faculty Advisor: Christina Tran and Haakon Faste

Most social network applications provide content for users by showing posts from friends or topics they enjoy––the content stream is endless. User-to-user interactions such as ‘like’s make people more hooked on social media, causing them to ascribe value to these digital exchanges. It makes people feel more self-conscious and causes them to invest more energy, time, money, and many other resources into their social media accounts. Despite the ability of Social Networking Services (SNS) to connect people and enhance some modes of communication, like any addiction, social media addiction leads to side effects with varying degrees of seriousness. At its least extreme, most people simply lose sleep. At an extreme, studies have shown that people diagnosed with depression are more likely to treat social media as a form of escapism from reality, and are thus more easily sucked into addiction (van Deursen et al. 45:411). Companies are making profit off of social media and they will continue to exploit people’s addictions, but there must be a way to meet the consumers where they’re at (“Battle of the Internet Giants”). I hypothesize that there is a way social media addiction can be combatted either by aiming to inhibit the factors prompting addiction or utilizing those same addictive factors, such as convenience and accessibility, diversity of communication channels, and abundance of connections.