Some experts argue that social media is a great invention. It helps to connect with others and to become informed. A person can reunite with old friends, look for new career opportunities and research topics of interest. On the other hand, some experts claim that social media can do serious damage to a person. It can deprive a person of privacy, leave one vulnerable to white collar criminals and make him or her addicted to electronic devices. Most people understand that both sides of the argument have merit and there are valuable lessons to be learned. However, most people also acknowledge that the truth is between these two extremes. Some social media exposure seems to be necessary nowadays, but too much may be harmful. The question is: How much is enough?

It is clear that the answer will be relative. Social studies have come up with varying numbers as to how much the average teenager or adult should spend on social media devices. However, a one-size-fits-all solution does not work. A researcher, a marketer or entertainment journalist might spend many hours during work on social media. On the other hand, a landscaper, a pilot or a paramedic may spend very little time on it after a long day of work. Hence, there is no real fixed amount of time one can prescribe to people for spending time on social media.

Still, given the behavior of teenagers, the questions remain as to how much is enough and at what point it becomes harmful. The answer came to me from my own experience with marketing my book. Being advised to go full speed ahead, I put all my energy into spreading the news about my book, The Curse. After a while, though, I came to the realization that I invested too much time into it. Basically, my second book, Real Life Choices, suffered the consequences because I did not make any progress on it. Thus, I had to stop spending as much time on social media as I did. I needed to scale back and find a healthy balance. In short, I learned that each person had to decide for him or herself at what point the use of social media becomes too much. It simply requires an honest reflection on the issue and a proper adjustment of time spent on it. Others do not have the answer to this question since each person’s situation is unique.

In summary, social media is harmful when it becomes too much and each person has to engage in an honest reflection to know when one reaches that point.

M. J. Mandoki