Blog post

Is green power an antidote to social media?

Do you think there is a green way to stop people spending time on social media? Maria Potempski, Lecturer in Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Derby explores whether the global population has an addiction to spending time on social media sites and how green power could be an antidote.

By Maria Potempski - 6 March 2020

According to the global report ‘Digital in 2019’ compiled by ‘We Are Social and Hootsuit’, internet users are growing by an average of one million new users a day. Now let’s consider some data about social media.

Well, globally a whopping 3.26 billion people reached for their mobile devices in 2019 to be connected via social media with others, representing 297 million new users since the previous year and growing. Getting a little closer to home we can drill down to find that typical 14 – 24 year olds here in the UK spend around 5 hours 15 minutes a day trawling the internet, consumed with social media sites and apps.

The social media phenomenon

So, what of it? As a Marketer and PR practitioner, turned lecturer, I have to confess that the internet has provided me with the platform to execute successful campaigns that have boosted brands and connect clients with their desired ROI. But in my defence that was all in business hours.

Clearly the phenomenon of social media is hard to avoid, and is with us 24/7, but like all good things there is a flip side too. Social media can paint airbrushed pictures of aspirational lifestyles that are far from the truth. What scientists now call the ‘Social Comparison Cycle’ can lead to depression and lack of self -esteem. It brings out our competitive nature as we become keen to attract attention to our posts, count our ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ and generally outdo others. Unfortunately, this form of unrealistic competitiveness can only lead to a downward spiral with potential to injure our mental health and wellbeing.

Let’s talk about you

Have you caught yourself thinking about how many posts you can make today? Do your feel anxious if you can’t check your social media at least every ten minutes? Concentration slipping? Maybe you’ve noticed that your social media compulsion is having a detrimental effect on your studies or work? Then you could conclude that social media is making you feel isolated, stressed and miserable.

Time for a personal reboot to get back in touch with the real world and discover what you are missing. At the risk of sounding like a nanny – the great outdoors has much to offer and has to be the most cost-effective life enhancing substance easily available to all. Don’t take my word for it but check out a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research which provides evidence showing just how little time it takes to get the benefits of being outside. 20 minutes in a park even without exercise can help to lower stress, blood pressure and heartrate. Add some exercise to boost your mood. Green power – who knows it might catch on?

For further information contact the press office at

About the author

Maria Potempski smiling and sitting down

Maria Potempski
Former lecturer in Marketing and PR

Maria comes from a practitioner background in PR and Advertising agencies where she held a number of senior positions working as an account director on both consumer and business to business brands. She enjoyed being part of some multi-media campaigns for household names such as M&S, Charnos, Lepel and Church’s Shoes.