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Society's New Addiction: Getting a "Like" over Having a Life

New research by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield shows obsession with posting photos and checking phones corresponds with lower enjoyment. More and more of us are losing connection with our lives in order to earn “likes” and social media praise. We have, in a sense, turned into social media “trophy hunters.”

Ultimately, the study reveals this obsession with social media trophy hunting isn’t just distracting—it’s dictating lives. Consider:

  • Nearly 3 out of 4 people admit to being rude or disconnected from others because they’re more focused on their phone than on the other person
  • 91 percent have seen a tourist miss enjoyment in the moment trying to get it on social media—and many acknowledge doing the same thing themselves
  • 79 percent have seen a parent undermine their own experience in a child’s life in an effort to capture the perfect post
  • 14 percent have risked their own safety to try and get a good posting

So how can we enjoy the moment and overcome social media addictions? Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield offer the following four tips:

1. Look at yourself. Before going to great effort to take a picture, stop and ask, “What would a reasonable third party think of me if they saw what I was doing?” It’s easy to do risky or inappropriate things when caught up in the moment. Reflecting from an outsider’s perspective can help you stay morally centered.

2. Limit your postings. The best way to stop unconsciously intruding in your life is to become conscious of it. Keep track of—and limit—how many things you post. If you post more than once a day, you probably have a problem. Most people appreciate your postings more if they come once or twice a week rather than daily—or more. If you cut off the demand you’ll naturally reduce the supply you create.

3. Snap, look and listen. Far too often, once we snap a picture in an inspiring place, we turn and leave. Fight the impulse to “call it good” just after taking a picture. Slow down. Breathe. Look around. Listen. Engage your senses and enjoy the experience not just the trophy.

4. Take a vacation from your device. Spend a day, evening, or even an hour with some physical distance from your devices. If you feel anxious, you’re on the right track. Once you fight through the initial discomfort, you’ll learn to be present and connected to your immediate environment in a way that will produce genuine happiness and enjoyment.

View the results of our study in the infographic below or download a copy for yourself.

Infographic_LikesOverLife_Trophy Hunters_March 2015

3 thoughts on “Society's New Addiction: Getting a "Like" over Having a Life”

  1. A good friend in her 70’s told me a story of having one of her daughters and her family visit for Christmas. The 3 little boys, all under age 10, got up earlier than their parents Christmas morning. The were all playing electronic games on handhelds. She made a nice breakfast for everyone, but as they sat around her dining table to eat together, her daughter, son-in-law, and 3 grandsons were all absorbed in checking email, or the video games, no one was talking to anyone else. This is not only rude, but it is not life. I don’t have any moblie technology, by choice, so I do not have to “take a vacation” from it. I have become a freakish phenomenon in just a few years by just staying the same. That most of those around me cannot even imagine how I can manage, tells me a lot about the impact on our social lives and skills that technology is having. It is not good. Building connection with others is good, but it should start with where we are present at any particular time, otherwise there is an even more dire breakdown of in community bonds.

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