Facebook, an online social networking site, and Twitter, a microblogging site, are two of the most popular social media sites with a whopping record of 1.23 billion and 241 million monthly active users respectively. According to Scope, a disability charity, 62% of the interviewed users of these popular sites felt inadequate after comparing other users’ post with their own personal achievements. Furthermore, 60% of these users had expressed that these sites made them feel envious of other people’s posts.
The survey is part of the Scope’s project which it dubs as “Digital Detoxing.” In the project, certified social network buffs are challenged to survive being out of touch with technology for 48 hours. The purpose is to enable an increased access by disabled people to the devices.
One of the highlights of the project involves the use of iPads by disabled people. It aims to find out how iPads can promote living independently by enabling people to control some key areas in the house such as the door.
“Social media at its best is a great way to stay in touch with friends, have a chuckle and learn new things – as well as being the world’s leading source of amusing cat pictures,” said scope’s project head, Debbie Bines. “But when things get out of balance and we start comparing ourselves to others, or feeling irritated, jealous or even ugly, it’s got to be time to take a break.”
Out of the 1,500 surveyed users, half of them talked about fully abandoning social media. However, they also realized that doing so would mean that keeping in touch with friends would become more difficult. This group of users are said to fall between the 18 to 34 age bracket.
On the other hand, Adam Smith had a different view on the project. A certified social media fanatic who hails from Nottingham, Adam admitted that once the event was over, he felt compelled to get back with technology after missing it for two full days.
While it is true that the increasing presence of social media sites brings a more positive outlook and make users feel amused and more attached, there are other users who feel lonely after looking at how everyone else is well-connected. Lastly, the survey also revealed that almost half of the participants feel irritated whenever they see posts that talk about a user’s feelings or emotions.