The Benefits of Addiction

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Humans are ruled by technology. We’re increasingly becoming dependent on it – the internet, social media, iPods, tablets – and it has long been the case that we cannot live without it. There are people who will say that technology is bad for us, we’re all addicted and we can’t form proper relationships anymore because everything is done online. The truth is, though, that unless all the fossil fuels suddenly run out, there is no way that any of us will readily give up our technological gadgets. The key thing to do instead is to make the most of your technological addiction.

Obviously, the best benefit of being a part of social media is the ability to stay connected with people you may or may not see on a regular basis. Only with the addition of technology can we keep up to date on what our friends are doing and when we’re available to meet up. Make a point of sending a funny photo, or a cheery message to people you don’t see very often and you’ll be amazed how a technology addiction can actually give you a laugh – contrary to the depression-inducing effects of spending time on social media that is so often publicised in the media. Social media certainly wouldn’t be the same without the odd cat-falling-off-a-ledge gif.

What may not immediately come to mind when thinking about technology addiction, however, is the fact that so many of us are becoming more and more savvy with technology – to the point where we’re becoming more skilled, which will benefit us when looking for a job. But even at university, having the tool Google at your fingertips can really help. Anyone with a bit of tech knowledge can collate all their social media experience into one, using applications such as Hootsuite. And, when needed, we can also switch off all social media by using applications such as Cold Turkey. Our technology addiction doesn’t have to be all bad news; it can be helpful to manipulate your time online to make the most of procrastination or productivity (though I’m guessing procrastination looks to be the more likely option for most).

In essence, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being addicted to technology. In fact, given that a considerable number of graduate employers that are crying out for tech-literate people, it is a rarely seen beneficial addiction. Spending our lives on social media, gaming, developing websites and all the rest of it is propelling our employability to the extent that for a lot of graduate jobs (or certainly the ones I’ve been looking at), employers require candidates who have the ability to connect with people online. Don’t be afraid to create a strong online presence because of all the bad press about technology addiction. Often, this is what graduate employers are looking for. As always, though, take this with a pinch of salt – employers do not want to see all of your many drunken photos.

But, our technology addiction isn’t just about ourselves. Without the viral nature of the internet, charities wouldn’t receive nearly as many donations as they do. Take the recent phenomenon of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Yes, it is a bit ridiculous and has virtually nothing to do with motor neurone syndrome but at the end of the day it has raised millions of pounds for a good cause – not just for research into motor neurone syndrome but for other charities such as Water Aid too. The compulsion to share that has taken over our lives as a result of technology addiction, making such a campaign worldwide and beneficial for charities as a result. Throw into the mix funny videos of people screaming and the opportunity to promote a charity close to your own heart, and who ever said that technology was bad for us?

Sooner or later we’ll have to get over the worrying about technology addiction, so we might as well start now. Embrace the fact that technology rules over our lives and use the time spent on the internet well. You never know when it might come in handy.

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