The “social” disease: A contagious virtual condition

By Czarina Cabuyadao, Account Manager, The Hoffman Agency Singapore

And no, it’s not what you think — it’s not that other social disease.

I’m talking about how your hands and brains are wired to your mobile device or devices and how it is taking over your life. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with it — you need to be connected all day because people are constantly awaiting updates from you with bated breath.

Where are you today? Working on my mobile office at the beach sipping a piña colada. What are you wearing? Just some thrifted vintage find paired with my Prada sunnies. What are you eating? This amazing Asian-French fusion food (with all the filters I can put to make it look artisan). Hashtag blessed.

Unfortunately, this is how we currently live our lives. I’m guilty of that too. I have my social media pages on all day long. I am always checking Instagram and Facebook. I used to be very active on Twitter using it as an SMS tool. I think about how many likes, comments, retweets or shares I get for every post. I get excited if I get notifications and disappointed if I get none. I am no celebrity nor am I an influencer, but boy; people do notice what I post. It’s like a validation, an ego-feeder. I enjoy it.

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Disease carriers

Social media has made us celebrities in our own world. We want anything we post to go “viral” up to the point where we do crazy things for “hearts.” We want to be the first to know about things, we become experts at every imaginable topic there is. We want to be the spokesperson of the oppressed, the victims and the underdogs. We suddenly become ambassadors of goodwill, of peace. We openly condemn violence and war. We become rabble-rousers, warriors and heroes behind the screens. It feels good. It feels like we’re all making a difference.

However, what we’re not aware of is that we also become carriers of the “social” disease. The fake sense of empowerment that social media has given us — the users — has led us to self-entitlement. We cross a line without even realizing it as we continue typing and clicking. We are guilty of online shaming, spreading click baits without verification, humble bragging, unsolicited online rage and rants, and taking advantage of the freedom to express ourselves. We become attention seekers, and we become inflicted by the “social” disease.

Never let the “social” disease affect your consciousness

As I browse my social media pages, I resent the ease with which it has meddled with my life. There are countless times where it has put pressure on me — the way I think, the way I dress, where people are going, what they are eating, whether I’m saying something stupid — and worst of all, how can I get people to like me? I was suffering from FOMO or fear of missing out. This led me to question myself — what am I doing with my life, how relevant is my existence, what change am I effecting? I let the “social” disease take over me. I would be lying if I say it didn’t.

Once I understood that I had the choice to shut down the noise, there were no second thoughts. I did my digital detox — unfollowing irrelevant brands or sites, deleting people I don’t really know personally on my Friends list, being more discerning on what posts I share online and thinking before clicking. In this day and age where everything will be forever etched online, you can always choose to ignore, and you can always choose to be informed.


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