Are You Addicted To Social Media?

Category: Social-Networking

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 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:
Social Media Addiction

  • 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...

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Most recent comments on "Are You Addicted To Social Media?"

Posted by:

17 Aug 2011

I value my privacy enough to not have a Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (remember that?), or any other social media account.

Posted by:

18 Aug 2011

Social Media is a nice topic and I like this article specially Many lists of "signs you may be addicted". I do got Social Media accounts but I am not addict to them. I rarely use them because of two concerns, privacy and health. Specially here in Japan people are not aware of these
two problems.

Recently one my friend she sent me a face book request which I accepted and had a chance
to go through her profile and I found she had honestly mentioned each and everything from
her school to Job along with her graduation dates and birthday, postal address. When I warned
her of privacy matter she said she did not think of privacy matter.

I think by taking advantage of Bob's article Are You Addicted To Social Media?
we should pass it on to others.

Posted by:

Gary Taylor
18 Aug 2011

I agree with JP, my privacy is more important to me. I think people who stay on these programs just don't have much of a life and when their identity is stolen they will have a life they never expected.

Posted by:

Laurernce Thomas
03 Jul 2012

I fully concur with JP and Gary Taylor. It is utterly mystifying to me that so many people are comfortable make so much person information available to what in effect is the general public. Some confuse (a) not having anything to be ashamed of it with the view that (b) it is alright for the information to be public. But (a) does not deliver (b). It makes no sense to be ashamed of one's SSN. But surely one's SSN is none else's business. And only a fool would think otherwise. On social networking sites, people would do well to treat information about themselves more like their SSN than not.

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