Are You Addicted To Social Media?
How many times per day do you check your Facebook page? How many Tweets do you read or post? How many social networks do you belong to? When is the last time you went 24 hours without updating your status? Is it possible that you are addicted to social media?
Methinks Thou Dost Twitter Too Much
Some evidence suggests it is possible. A study entitled "The Wired Unplugged" found that college-aged students suffered symptoms similar to withdrawal from drugs when they were asked to abstain from the Internet for just one day. The majority of participants could not do it. Those who did last 24 hours reported feeling anxious, stressed, and depressed. One student said he "sometimes felt dead."
A 2010 survey conducted by Retrevo.com asked some questions about social media addiction, and got some scary answers. Forty-two per cent of respondents admitted that they "check/update Twitter or Facebook first thing in the morning." Forty-eight per cent did the same after they went to bed at night. Nearly one-third thought it was socially acceptable to check an incoming social media message during dinner, and 7 per cent said they would do it during sex.
Many lists of "signs you may be addicted" to social media have been published. Some of the symptoms are more amusing than others. Here are some of my favorites:
- Do family and friends comment on how often you peer into your phone or computer screen?
- Have you ever missed an appointment because you were so engrossed in your social media activities?
- Do you suffer from a lack of sleep due to participation in online social activities?
- Do you become anxious if you posted a Tweet, Facebook update or photo and no one has responded?
- Do you enable "notify me via email every time something happens" on your social media accounts?
- Do you check Facebook every 15 minutes even though you have those email notifications enabled?
- Do you find yourself speaking face-to-face in sentences of 140 characters or less?
- Do you Tweet while driving? "Just hit a squirrel. Uh-oh, just hit another one."
- Do you belong to 10 social networks and spend hours each day crafting the perfect updates for them?
- Do you feel insecure if your follower count dips?
- Do you spend more time with social media than you spend with family?
- Do you have more friends on Facebook than you have in real life?
- Are social networks your primary way of keeping in touch with friends?
- Do you freak out when your favorite social media site goes down temporarily?
- When you first meet someone, do you ask if they're on your favorite social media services?
- Do you tell your friends "It's okay... I can stop any time I want!"?
Many of these criteria could be applied to other things related to social media, such as text messaging or online gaming. If you think you may be addicted to social media, try tapering off slowly. Check your email and Facebook only once an hour for a week. Then try checking just once a day. Set a timer to limit how much time you spend on social media updates. Think of good things to do with all that new-found free time, and go do them.
Do you have something to say about social media addiction? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 17 Aug 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Are You Addicted To Social Media? (Posted: 17 Aug 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved