Habit is second to nature. What we do often actually becomes a natural part of us with time. The desire to text frequently, tweet, Facebook and access social media networking sites is now higher than that of the wish to take alcohol or smoke a cigarette.

Back in the days, my colleagues used to take ‘normal‘ smoke breaks between their work schedules, well nowadays it’s the regular Social Media breaks. The checking Facebook timelines, Twitter notifications and WhatsApp chats has clearly stolen time from the smoke breaks, big time.

 

To examine our inability to resist our constant cravings, researchers from the University of Chicago outfitted 205 subjects with Blackberrys. For seven days, the researchers messaged the volunteers to ask them about their urges within the past 30 minutes—what kind of desire they experienced, how strong it was and whether they were they able to resist.

The results provided a snapshot of what many of us feel each day. Fighting the urge to log into Facebook or send another tweet is often a losing battle. “Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail,” Wilhelm Hofmann, the lead researcher told the Guardian. “In contrast, people were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money.”

The addictive nature of social media may be the result of its “high availability,” say the researchers. In addition, with addictive substances such as alcohol and tobacco, there’s a clear message about the negative impacts on your health and wallet. That’s not as apparent with Facebook or Twitter.

It is good to acknowledge the fact that social media help us get information about what is happening in the world around us. From the recent floods in Nairobi to the attempted coup in Burundi and devastating earthquakes in Nepal, we get informed of what is trending and therefore shape our lives. Big companies use it as a PR tool and to advertise their products and brands through their pages to reach a wider target population.

Credit: Men’s Fitness, uReport