Over 23 million Americans suffer from some form of addiction, although less than 10 percent are receiving treatment. Today’s media has raised awareness of this issue – for better or for worse – with shows like Celebrity Rehab, In Treatment, and Intervention, as well as constant paparazzi speculation about icons like biker bad boy Jesse James and fallen hero Tiger Woods who recently checked into rehabilitation facilities.
Addiction is a serious issue – and now some are saying that today’s college student is dependant on social media. A recent study by the ICMPA found that “most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world.” The exercise asked 200 college students to go without social media – no texting, no Facebook, no TV, no Internet, etc. – for just 24 hours. The blog A Day Without Media shows the full results, including direct feedback from the students who experiences symptoms an addict would feel after quitting cold turkey. They felt jittery, depressed and anxious.
Honestly, I’m certain I would feel the same way. Not only does my job require me to use social media throughout the day, but my personal life often revolves around communication through digital means. I need social media. And I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing. Sure, addiction is a scary term, but that typically refers to destructive behavior or habits that interfere with our daily functions. I may be “addicted” to social media, but I’d argue it has had a positive influence, having helped me stay on top of current events, strengthen personal and professional relationships and find interesting and entertaining sources of information.
That said, I promise that should I find myself staying up all night to check the latest Twitter feed or ignoring important work assignments while updating my Facebook profile, I’ll check myself into the nearest Social Media Rehabilitation Center (I’m sure it’s just a matter of time).
Now off to check my Crack – I mean, BlackBerry.