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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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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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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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