A double edged sword
Recent studies suggest many have difficulty sleeping when using social media last thing at night.
Modern technology gives us simultaneously the blessing and curse of immediacy of availability on a 24/7 basis into our bedrooms, if we permit it. Years ago, the telephone was the last point of contact into one’s own private residence and there were social rules about disturbing people later in the evening, except in emergencies. Now, no such social “fire break” exists.
One’s social presence and standing on such platforms requires regular maintenance. Equally, the minutiae published there on people’s lives can increase information overload as people describe tiny points of their day in ways that would never have occurred hitherto. Even valuable information passed around, shared or re-tweeted, can contribute to a sense of overwhelm. Add to that SMS messages and a ringing phone.
The younger generation don’t have the normal social boundary that preceded them, of going home to family and bed in the evening after a spat with mates. They instead find minor disputes, or the need to be part of the group, are escalated once they are home. Typically this easily runs well into the early hours of the morning, causing agitation at a time we evolved to seek rest.
We must also be aware that social media is a mixture of connectivity with both people and the markets those people occupy and, therefore, typical friendship exchanges are mixed with pure business 24/7. It’s often hard for some to tell the two apart and the term “friend” acquires new connotations that are altogether shallower and less enduring than many of the people one enjoys meeting for coffee, or perhaps has known since school or a first job etc.