Confessions of a Social Media Addict

These days, we hear a lot about people getting addicted to the Internet and the Social Media. Our Premium Blogger, Purba Ray has this very interesting post on ‘Confessions of a Social Media Addict’. Purba, the post is all yours. 🙂


When Sheila joined Facebook, it was confirmed what she had suspected all along – she was beautiful.  One never gets tired of hearing the truth.  So, she started uploading a new profile picture every week.  Gosh! You still look the same, Hellow gorgeous, Hey beautifool, wanna be freinds?  Life had never looked this good.  In fact, her side profile with her tongue sticking out got her 105 likes.  That night she started accusingly at her husband and said – do you have any idea, how lucky you are?

Her status updates were another story. From initiating debates on plight of women in Afghanistan, to ungrateful maids, to the rotting state of the economy, to sharing images of deformed babies to feed the starving in Ethiopia – Sheila was now feeling like the prettier version of Oprah. Realizing that her quick wit and superior intellect needed a bigger platform, she started a blog.

Sheila was the centre of a universe she had created, just like a toddler is for her parents. Look at me Mommeee, I am flying! 26 ½ people called me brilliant. Ain’t I awesome, Ma! Her little achievements, sob stories and rants had an audience spanning continents. Thrashing sentiments out of her keyboard, brandishing her opinions, she was out to change the world. Pen is mightier than the sword, outrage is stronger than nonchalance.

She made a grand entry to the Twitter world.  Mayawati sent an e-hathi to welcome her, Mamata demanded a roll-back, Abhishek Manu Sanghvi invited her to his cottage for an in-depth discussion about her career, Meira Kumar asked her to “baith jaiye, shant ho jaiye”.  But Sheila knew, in reality they were quaking in their boots with fear. She, the queen of satire, who could nip ballooning egos in the bud, destroy careers by writing secret diaries on behalf of celebrities and tweet the meanest jokes at their expense. Being funny was never this fun. Outraging in 140 characters had never felt this good.  Newspapers were falling over each other to publish her tweets. Sheila Sharma was now India famous in Gobargaon.

In the meantime, Sheila stopped making phone-calls to her family; preferred tweeting to texting inane “how are yous” to friends and outsourced her memory to Google. At gatherings when Ms Sharma met real humans, she felt listless; longing to go back to her hordes of followers and fans. The fools they were, they had no idea how big she was. The other day when the waiter came running with a slip of paper, Sheila gave him her autograph with a flourish. When he gave her a perplexed look, she realized it was the bill.

Sheila Sharma got a tennis elbow without playing tennis. Her thumb stuck to her smartphone like Fevicol, her mind crowded with great thoughts – the real world felt unreal and the unreal, real. She felt like a stranger in a crowd.

A few weeks back, Sheila’s son came running to her and declared that her Internet addiction was making her insane. When she scoffed at him, he thrust Newsweek’s cover-story on “How connection addiction is rewiring our brains”, at Sheila’s face. The article suggested that the current incarnation of Internet- portable, social, accelerated, and all pervasive – may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention deficient disorders. In fact, the Internet addiction disorder will soon be included as a recognized mental disorder.  The brain of internet addicts is a lot like the brains of drug and alcohol addicts.  Our excessive internet dependence not only encourages but even promotes insanity.  (Source)

Don’t we all know how difficult it is to be offline? The insatiable need to know what’s happening to whom, who vacationed where, why Shinde got home and why Aishwarya is still so fat! We seem to have rewired our lives around all things inconsequential.

I have seen friends deactivate accounts because it was messing up their real lives, only to resurface a few weeks later.  The pull is too strong.  Real life seems too banal in comparison to the excitement online.  A world that is created to entertain and inform, 24×7.  A medium, where we are not just spectators watching silently from sidelines, but an active part of it – contributing and sharing what we think is important.  We decide what the ‘important’ is. We create it.  An anonymous Madrasan spewing hate against Delhi boys becomes an overnight star. A revolution is plotted and gives birth to an uprising.  An unknown boy from Allahabad desperately seeking female attention through his badly done site becomes an internet sensation.

Social media is empowering.

But is it making us meaner, too judgemental for our own good?  Is our evolution as a wired generation, changing our behaviour patterns? I feel social networking sites encourage the Narcissus in us. The constant need to highlight our achievements and share, has led to many of us documenting events in our life rather than experiencing it – through images, micro-blogging, blog-posts. In our quest for approval from our peers, many of us ending up Photoshopping our lives. Look, what my loving sister gave me for my birthday! My darling, have I told you, you are more precious than Mastercard!  It’s as if we are play acting to project a utopian existence we crave for.

A click of a mouse is all it takes to unfriend and block. Changing your relationship status to “single” can rid you of your girlfriend. Posting nasty pics of your ex-best friend is justice delivered.  Unfortunately, life is not as simple. The pleasant is intertwined with the unpleasant.

Sheila’s case in not an isolated one. Like her, I am aware that the online world has given me more than I could have imagined- recognition, respect, connecting with the most amazing people I could never have met in real life and reconnecting with friends I had lost.  But, I also know I am an addict.  The sad part is, secretly I think I’m better off than others. The day I realize, I’m as bad or even worse, is when I will be able to reclaim a life that I sacrificed at the altar of Time Berner’s Lee’s greatest creation – the World Wide Web. Because I know, in sickness and health, in good times and in bad and in joy and sorrow, it’s family and friends who will be by my side.  For the online world, it will be just an account that became silent.

59 Replies to “Confessions of a Social Media Addict”

  1. I am breathless reading that. Every word is so true in here. From the fledgling steps of facebook to the blogging and twitter world. To thinking the real people are lesser beings because they don’t tweet. Oh yes, it probably crosses everyone’s minds. We certainly do need to remain grounded to our lives and jobs. I almost wish they blocked twitter and fb at office so I could stop being distracted when something big happens.

  2. Brilliantly put Purba ! I so agree with “the constant need to highlight our achievements and share” part – we are so busy documenting our lives to show others that we forget to have fun !
    Social media is empowering indeed but it has taken the simplicity out of our lives !
    I love the way you ended the post!

  3. Bang on!! Its so true! Now a days, the need to be connected with the world wide web is so high that a few minutes or an hour without internet, you feel so distracted… as if you are missing something so vital… It’s time to do a reality check and come out of the virtual world and enjoy the real wide world!

  4. So true, but that has been said by others. The first few months of blogging and the followers I got … it was intoxicating. My family declared me insufferable. Now I have toned down … hopefully.

  5. I was nodding away to glory while reading this post. Social media has made people like us the biggest judge around. We start feeling that since we have the keyboard and the right to type we can get away with anything & everything. We start feeling that the world revolves around us, sadly most of the time people can not see the *scratch your back* policy that prevails in the virtual world.

    This is the very reason that I do not take the compliments that I get seriously. I do not get blown away with the demands to write a book only because I review them.

    Lovely article.

  6. This is the sad reality Purba that what is meant to be a past time become a full time obsession and everything else takes a back seat! Like every thing in life too much of everything is bad and every coin has two sides. Well analysed with some nice examples:)

  7. Each and every word is so true! Social Media has done more bad than good for sure. The online world seems more real than the real world.

    True to the core! Loved your narration Purba!

  8. Hi Nice Article and amazingly presented. I agree on few points but any powerful tool is totally depend on your behavior or handling of the tool. If your handling is correct it gives correct result. normally our presence on social media is so casual that we have to face few negative side of it.
    I think you should write manual on how to behave on social media Think on it.
    Good luck ! Keep writing

  9. Bang on. Very well written Purba. They say boasting on FB feels as good as sex. We all indulge in Narcissim in some on social media. In many ways I have become an addict too.

  10. So true Purba. When my hubby says I am an addict, I look at him as if he is crazy…..hope my sanity is restored, till then…

  11. Very well presented. That social media addiction is unhealthy both physically and otherwise is well-known. But how we reclaim our lives is the more important thing. While Narcissism can be heady, it comes with inherent dangers too. For now, I have begun taking it easy. Let us see how I survive.

  12. A mirror to our net life Purba. Like Ritu said, the inital euphoria can be both intoxicating and addictive. Thee are many times when i have logged in at odd hours. But the truth is the interent is here to stay, and like u said it has led to uprisings like in Egypt. it has empowered people, especailly women and folks from small towns, giving access to the world window.

    I personally have loved this, but deep down we all know its loopholes. And each one of us, esp those who grew up without interent know where to draw the line some day and convert t the addiction to your advantage.

  13. A mirror to our net life Purba. Like Ritu said, the inital euphoria can be both intoxicating and addictive. There are many times when i have logged in at odd hours. But the truth is the interent is here to stay, and like u said it has led to uprisings like in Egypt. it has empowered people, especailly women and folks from small towns, giving access to the world window.

    I personally have loved this, but deep down we all know its loopholes. And each one of us, esp those who grew up without internet know where to draw the line some day and convert t the addiction to your advantage.

  14. A mirror to our net life Purba. Like Ritu said, the initial euphoria can be both intoxicating and addictive. There are many times when i have logged in at odd hours. But the truth is the interent is here to stay, and like u said it has led to uprisings like in Egypt. it has empowered people, especailly women and folks from small towns, giving access to the world window.

    I personally have loved this, but deep down we all know its loopholes. And each one of us, esp those who grew up without internet know where to draw the line some day and convert t the addiction to your advantage.

  15. So true but there is no way this can stop unless there is self control. Any thing in excess will lead to addiction like the ones you have mentioned. In this connection came across an article which may also be of interest to you. Here is the link to that blog-

  16. nice. Its true, internet is am addiction. But, I don’t think I am addicted enough to go insane, only time will tell if I am right 🙂

  17. well said and accurately etched- addiction to the social media gets over the top at times and it is in our best interests to mute it down so that the reel does not overtake the real

  18. The key is to take it easy after a while and not get sucked into the whirlpool.
    WWW seems exciting initially but we have to learn not to let it overpower our existence.

  19. I am so sorry that I could not reply to all your comments. I was moving to a new continent and I all I could do was read your feedback on my mobile.

    The appreciation, the encouraging words eased out the pain of leaving my loved ones behind and moving to a foreign country.

    Thank you so much…….

  20. Reminds me of my own addiction to internet.. I feel at loss without my connection but I have never neglected my duties so far. So I am a good addict LOL.
    Hope you will enjoy your stay in the new continent Purba

  21. Awesome post Purba. There’s nothing in the post that I can’t say no to. You have covered everything that is possible in the virtual social world. what I have observed these days is, people are silent in the social websites. We think they are not active, but that’s not true. They are invisible and are stalking our lives…A very nice post like a warning call to all of us…:)

  22. Good post, you’re on fire as usual. 🙂
    i think it’s still ages when we’ll properly get to know the addiction and it’s consequences. Mankind has never been one to hear first signs of warning, even those of World Wars.
    It’s like the sinking ship, and we are the rats, who can sense it. but are we the smart ones, to flee, or the stupid ones?

  23. With social media, the hardest hit are the stars, politicians, other media and the famous simply because they cannot hide their actions or words (and consequences thereof) from the hoi polloi. It reduces their demigod status to mere human. Through social media we come to know undoctored versions of the news which, to my mind, isn’t such a bad thing. Also, we are all stars for an addictive blip in time. It gives us the capacity to make informed judgments for ourselves. But with social media, we’ve learnt to churn out something regularly even if we have nothing genuine or original to say. So cyberworld is full of repeats. It takes so much longer to separate the chaff from the a-mazing gems. On the whole I think social media and the added connectivity ordinary people have is nice. [Hope you are settling in well.]

  24. As we teach about new technologies in colleges, there should be a way to educate young people on how to handle the adaption of new technologies in our lives to benefit our families and the society around us. Sadly, this is missing in our curriculum today- like many other important things!!!! Very nice depiction Purba.

  25. This is very true.
    While I convince myself that I need to stay on some websites to connect with far away friends, secretly I know how much I love stalking some of them.

  26. Purba, I am in awe everytime I read what you write… I love your blog and, I love whats been written here. The problem is, we are wired-in all the time, be it facebook/twitter/blog/ blog comments/emails . Imagine the plight to not have been able to connect to your fellow bloggers and subscribers for a few days. That rekindles the thought that, its about time, I make a bigger effort to meet people “offline” too!

  27. Bullseye..this is so true for anyone who loves the online world and is on any one of the social media sites. It definitely takes a lot to stay sane and restrict yourself to the time decided and log out..more importantly hold yourself back from coming back for a quick glance of fb(which is never quick and short with all the latest updates pouring in). Being a content writer and social media expert I do understand how very difficult it is for me to say yes, time up and back to the real world. Could connect with it 100%:)

  28. It’s very true that the social media is addictive. We need to draw a line and start living a more realistic life.I loved the concluding lines.

  29. Purba, Its a b’ful post …i loved a lot of things in the post but the most touched one is where you said you will just be an account for online worls!…it reminds me of my very young cousin who just died in a accident last year… All my family and his friends post on is FB profile… I dont know… they write beautiful stuff about him and some of his bad things…his sisters write proses remembering him..and trust me whenever i read them …tears dont stop rolling my eyes…

    your blog is almost story of all of me and lot of my family & friends!!!!…. and there have been times when I am totally glued to my mac, my phone, my pad… and sometimes when I go to my mum house I feel irritated because she has no internet in her house and when I insist she says I want you to be with me not around me… It works wonders… I end up spending a lot of time listening to her, reading her favorites books and just be with her ….. so when I come home it feels like a mini vacation… now I quite often do cyber upvas..if not for days ..i do for hours… 🙂

  30. Well said Purba. Your post will find an echo in every blogger’s mind. However I still feel it’s the real world that provides fodder for the virtual one. And I hope, that’s what will keep us cued in to real life even if we love the virtual one better.

  31. Hi Purba,
    This is the first time i am visiting your page,
    Its really good to be here.
    A wonderful post. i can very well related to
    many areas which mentioned here, though
    i am not a fb addict, but blogging is now part
    of my life, and many a time many of the household
    jobs i am unable to attend, I fully agree with your
    concluding para, yes, …….it’s family and friends
    who will be by my side. For the online world,
    it will be just an account that became silent.”
    yes may be silent at any time for that matter
    a fraction of second is enough to end that!
    Good thought.
    Keep inform
    Best Regards

  32. Fantastic post!! Not only true and thought-provoking but so well-written! You have inspired me to write on it myself
    which I have been putting off for a while in favour of updating the Facebook status. Thank you for a great post!

  33. I’m glad my words struck chord with so many of you. I know most of it was an unpleasant reminder of what we are becoming. But I’m secretly hoping that this will serve as a wake-up call for many!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments.

  34. It’s very true. Today we have made our life so much digital that we don’t have time to live our own real life.
    Whatever we do we just post it or share it on social networking website in order to make our-self more socialize.

  35. You have a purpose in life and I guess you are closer to the purpose by writing articles that can provoke people’s thinking capacity. Please continue writing more articles. “Outraging in 140 characters had never felt this good” this is a fab line

  36. Hi Purba, this is such a powerful post that I am still taking a moment to come “”out”” of what you have written and make this comment. I am new to the FB. blogging world, a few more years and I might end up becoming another Sheila, so THANK YOU for putting into words what my conscience tells me sometimes. I am sharing your post on FB for all to see, pause and re-think. Thank you.

  37. Dear Purba it is absolutely true that social media is getting addictive. A wonderful strong media of connecting to the world is being misused and abused. I am a regular food blogger. It is up to us to draw a line and take advantage of this media rather than becoming slave to it.

  38. Dear Purba,
    Your writing is so relevant to what we have prevalent now, and more so is the line “… I know I am an addict…” we all are, in fact on the same boat… The excuse that I give myself, is that I am on another continent far away from home, with no friends and family nearby. hence spend too much time on the internet… but is that really a reason? at what point do we recognize that we are an addict?

  39. Such a relevant post. Of course, none of us can actually claim that we are not addicted to social networking. In fact, we are not just addicted, we are living in it forgetting there is a world outside too. And it is also a known fact, that we may never get out of this addiction but we definitely can choose to know where and when to restrain. Lovely post, once again……keep writing 🙂

    Cheers & God bless…!!

  40. The content you have written is really well directed to me and I could say to those who have been on www for major part of the day….. and the one sentence of photo-shopping our lives could speak about the dearth of the situation…. thanks 4 such an article…. I will definitely save it down and get back to read whenever I felt am being more of one such you have referred to…..

  41. Nicely written Purba, It reminded me of my own addiction to Internet. Had many a sleepless nights, and dry throats… Infact, I too had, some time back, written a similar article on my addiciton. But frankly, and hats off, it was nowhere near to what you have written.. Brilliant piece..

  42. I bet they said the same thing about the telephone when it was invented!

    If Sheila is so well appreciated online, and people treat her like bat-shit in real life, she’ll find her peace being an online account. There’s a difference between being an addict, and being good at something.

    Most of us are gaining fat in our backsides living ‘real lives’ while Zuckerberg and Karp are making billions being internet-addicted nerds. Guess how many people told them to ‘get a life’ at school!

  43. hi Purba.. Now the latest addiction is the mob app whatsapp. every other social media blog has become boring after its advent. Peopl are soo obsessed with it that they might not talk with each other in real life but might whatsapp 24*7! The world ahead looks soo bleak.

  44. Well well.. Deep breathe… Breathe in breathe out.. take a chill pill media addiction is overrated… online media like any other medium of communication is a derivative of temperaments of people using it… there were always people vocal about their personal lives and emotions, there were always people guarding theirs stringently.. and there were always people trying to find a balance between the urge to over communicate or completely isolate… weren’t there attention seekers or narcissists when there were no online media?? Outrages happened with or without character limitations :)… Taking a sneak peak in someone else’s personal life, finding dirt and deriving sadistic pleasure of it has existed since forever….so net net guess it’s not internet… ;).. its us…our behaviors… probably the world wide web as you said has paced up the communication, has given an immediate vent to expressions and has made reach widespread with a click….technology is the mere facilitator.. behavior is the driver.. so having a properly wired in mind might help to strike a balance… just so we know that getting wired out is voluntary and very much within our controls and we should be able to do it at our discretion.. so sky is not falling..and life is not bleak..too much of anything is not good..ease up and keep a check..Social media is amazing and ain’t we social animals 😉 ;)…… just Sillyt

  45. Each and every word is so true! Social Media has done more bad than good for sure. The online world seems more real than the real world.

    True to the core! Loved your narration Purba!

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