When you post something on Facebook, are you honestly telling the world how you feel – or are you trying to create a glamorous image of yourself (and harvest Likes)?
People who use Facebook in a ‘problematic’ way may actually be fuelling a strange addiction to their own selves, says a University of Derby researchers.
Dr William van Gordon says that this ‘ontological’ addiction may constitute a third kind of addiction – after chemical (drugs or alcohol) and behavioural (gambling).
Dr van Gordon said, ‘We cement or weaken our ego and belief in selfhood, depending on how much we live out our lives through the lens of “me, mine and I”.’
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‘Problematic social media use can cause people to be drawn further into the condition and its associated negative consequences.
‘For instance, when using social media, people can construct another layer of selfhood that feeds on likes, shares and followers for its existence, but that does not reflect an accurate portrayal of the individual’s true nature.
‘If we interact with social media and technology mindlessly and are used by them, they tend to draw us away from the present moment.’
Dr van Gordon suggests mindfulness could help those who have been sucked into ‘ontological addiction’.
He says, ‘To know whether a person has ontological addiction, they would need to be honest with themselves and investigate the extent to which their ego governs their thoughts, words and actions.
‘For example, when performing an act of kindness, a person could ask themselves whether deep down they are actually hoping for some kind of gain, reward or recognition.’