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Can you be ‘addicted’ to Facebook, Instagram? Experts share how to tell if your social media …

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Instagram was among a number of apps owned by Facebook that went down for several hours on Monday. The outage caused some people to reflect on just how much time they spend on social media. (Getty Images)

Instagram was among a number of apps owned by Facebook that went down for several hours on Monday. The outage caused some people to reflect on just how much time they spend on social media. (Getty Images)

Social media users collectively freaked out on Monday when Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp went down for hours. Facebook, which owns the platforms, later blamed a “faulty configuration change” for the outage, which inspired plenty of memes — and reflection about just how much time people spend on social media. 

“Didn’t realize how addicted I was to scrolling through Instagram until it went down sheeesh,” one person wrote on Twitter. “So Instagram has been down for like 2 hours and I didn’t realize how many times I caught myself keep trying to use the app,” another said. “Crazy how much we waste time scrolling through social media. That being said LMK when it’s back and running.” 

“I’m so addicted to instagram,” someone else chimed in. “Keep clicking it, forgetting it’s down.”

While plenty of people were throwing around the terms “addicted” and “addiction” when talking about the social media platforms, it’s tricky to actually call regular social media usage an “addiction,” Erin Calipari, a professor and addiction specialist at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. Still, she says, some people definitely display “addictive behaviors” when it comes to using these platforms — and there’s a reason for that. 

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The creators of popular social media platforms have studied basic human behavior psychology to increase your engagement, she says. “Social media uses variable reinforcement,” Calipari says. “When you engage, you’re probably going to see something new. It’s unpredictable, and that’s exciting to people.” 

Plenty of people kept on clicking into their Facebook and Instagram apps when the sites were down because they’ve just developed habits to do that regularly throughout their day, Calipari says.

Ken Yeager, director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Life that social media draws you in because “we all have a curiosity about others and what they are doing.” 

“The idea that you can keep track of what family, current and past friends are doing is very attractive to our social interest,” he says. People can also follow others who mirror their own interests and get their beliefs reinforced, which also draws you in, Yeager says. “Now you have all of this content that you can access from the comfort of your living room or pretty much anywhere on your computer, tablet or phone. This is the perfect recipe for vicarious-living addiction,” he explains.

So how can you tell if your social media use is problematic? Dar Meshi, a social neuroscientist and assistant professor at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Life that it’s concerning if you have a “preoccupation” with social media when you’re not using it or your mood changes when you use social media. “Other symptoms include conflict with others because of social media use, and when attempting to quit social media, individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms or even possibly relapse, returning to use these sites again,” he says. 

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How much your social media use interferes with other things you should be doing, like paying bills or getting work done, matters too, Yeager says. 

If you feel like your social media use is excessive, there are a few things you can do. Thea Gallagher, a Philadelphia-area psychologist and co-host of the Mind in View podcast, recommends trying to be mindful of how much you’re looking at social media platforms and making a point to avoid them during your day. “Really take physical separation from your phone or other device at least for 20 minutes to a half hour each day,” she says. 

Gallagher also suggests turning off social media notifications, so you’re not getting pinged when someone likes or comments on a post. “Just be more intentional with the time you spend online,” she says. You can even set timers when you click into a social media platform to allow yourself only a certain amount of time on it, Calipari says. 

If you’ve tried those things and you still feel like you’re checking social media more than you should, Meshi says it’s time for more dramatic action: “Simply try to abstain from using social media.” Meaning, take a break. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter will still be there when you’re ready to come back.

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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5-apps-for-scheduling-instagram-posts-on-iphone-and-android-–-mashable

Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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