We live in the digital age. Spending time and engaging on the Internet is daily routine for most people and oxygen if you’re under 30. If you’re a digital marketer or if social media is part of your job description, your extended engagement online is how you earn a living and that’s understandable. Reading the news, surfing the net for information or working online are important activities. But, if your career or responsibilities do not require many hours in front of the screen, you may have developed a habit… and habits are hard to break. Here are 10 signs that you may be addicted to social media.
REACHING FOR YOUR PHONE FIRST THING
What is the first thing that you reach for when you wake up? Is it your partner’s touch, your pet, a glass of water, your hairbrush? Or, is it your phone? Has your gadget become a habitual morning friend like your toothbrush?
Ask yourself why? Are you looking for the day’s news, the weather or do you want to see how many likes and followers you have?
Change up the routine. Next time you stretch out your arm to find your phone, reach for something else instead. Better yet, rest quietly in bed and go on a mental appreciation rampage before hopping out. It’s a great way to start the day.
CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR LIKES AND COMMENTS
Large followings and likes are important when developing a brand or an online business but wanting excessive personal validation on social media could be a sign of insecurity. It’s an unreal and unsustainable form of social acceptance. In fact, it does just the opposite, spending too much time on social platforms makes you socially unfit.
If building on the number of likes you have is important, here’s one way to use your skill productively. Make it a challenge to see if you can get more and more likes each day and then teach someone how to build a business or a brand this way. The point is don’t just do it for the sake of stroking your ego.
Followings are a trap and not at all an indicator of your value to others. Not everyone is a multibillionaire like Jeff Bezos, or a supermodel like Giselle Bundchen or a hyper philanthropist like Oprah Winfrey. You’ll probably never hit millions of followers the way they have but it doesn’t make you any less worthy. You are unique and super in some way. We all are, we all have something unique and special about ourselves to share with the world. It’s the reason we’ve been put on this earth! Spend time finding out what that is.
A word of caution, spending excessive amounts of hours following others can be seen as stalking. It’s important to curve our appetites when it comes to obsessing about other people’s lives.
Let people get to know you, the real you, in person. If you really want to be liked, offer your authenticity in person, not just on your public social profile or through your images. There’s no need to embellish your true self.
When was the last time you volunteered, spoke publicly or led a team? This kind of interaction is more valuable because it’s a way to gague your strengths and weaknesses and work or build upon them. Let’s face it, when was the last time you posted about your shortcomings?
Have you ever met someone in person who is half of what they said online? In business, this is called misrepresentation and people can be sued for this. Okay, I don’t expect to be taken to court because I don’t look nearly as well as I did twenty years ago. However, wouldn’t you rather leave a great first impression over a disappointment? I know someone personally close to me whose date walked out on her the minute they met in person!
We’re all a bit guilty of puffing a little when it comes to our online profiles but if you want to have an honest relationship from the beginning, be transparent – show up in the flesh. Meet up! Let others decide if they “like” you face to face. This brings me to my next point.
MEETING FACE TO FACE FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE?
If meeting people face to face is uncomfortable, this is a sure sign that you’re spending way too much time in front of a screen. You may be loosing your interpersonal skills. Social media addiction is a real problem and it’s on the rise. In China there are recovery centers for teens who need help cutting off from their phones!
Humans are geared to be in community. Depression has been attributed to the lack of social communication and much of it is due to smart gadgets. It’s important to have personal interaction and it’s essential for our survival.
In person, one can sense people’s emotions and thoughts, helping us to have better exchanges. Have you ever met someone for the first time and your heart raced from excitement or it shrunk in fear? When you can “read” someone’s eyes as they stand in front of you, or you can feel their energy, you’re off to a good start. This can’t be done on a computer screen. Spending time in community is important for health and happiness and it’s also a better indicator of compatibility.
Video chatting is great and has made our globe one small village but it will never replace person to person contact. If you’re scared or nervous about meeting people, the best thing to do is to get out of your comfort zone. Consider joining a club or professional group and start attending live events. Better yet, volunteer to speak publicly!
USING SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCTIVELY?
How are you using social media? Are you following gossipy conversations? Are the groups or is your SOI prone to putting others down, using foul language, or posting negativity?
Before joining a group, ask yourself how is this contributing to my personal growth and the growth of others? Following a conversation can be valuable when it’s thought provoking, empowering or educational. Be the one that always brings value. Raise the bar. Make this world a better place.
Have you developed FOMO, the fear of missing out? When engaging in social media, don’t accept everything as the gospel truth. Question what you read or see. And, never feel the need to keep up. The last U.S. presidential election is a perfect example of how information can be manipulated to serve someone’s agenda. Learn to be a skeptical online consumer.
If you want to share your happiness, talk to them. Pick up the phone – yeah, that old gadget used to hear people’s voices. Better yet, go see them.
DERAILED IF YOUR PHONE GOES MISSING?
Who hasn’t forgotten or lost their phone at some point? I’ve turned around to retrieve mine but only when I’ve been one or two blocks away from home. Otherwise, I let it go. It’s a great way to prove to myself that I’m not addicted to it. One way to reinforce this belief is to take my dog out for a walk without it.
Life is going to happen with or without my phone. I’m a positive thinker. I see the glass half full and refuse to worry about “what ifs?” There’s no greater captor than fear and unless you’re a trader, as I used to be, you don’t need your phone 24/7. I never want a gadget to control me.
POSTPONING OR IGNORING RESPONSIBILITIES
As a digital marketer I have dozens of online to do’s each day. Engaging on social media is just one task. There are ads to be placed. Analytics to be studied. Websites to be updated. Campaigns to be tweaked. Vlogs to be created. Articles to be written. Webinars to participate in. Events to attend. Video calls to host. Follow-up emails to write. Broadcasts to send out. The list, at times, seems endless.
Social media is a huge part of business today. But it’s not the only way to grow a business. It’s too easy to spend an entire day on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram “following” others instead of being the true and unique creators that we are. Ask yourself, am I contributing or following? How is this helping my business to grow?
How much time is too much on social media? Only you know. If you’re ignoring chores at work, your family, your homework or other responsibilities in favor of Snap-chatting, Tweeting, Face-timing or the like, then it’s time to change your modus operandi.
Look at it this way. If you owned a company and your employees spend most of their time at work texting or tweeting, how likely are you to give them a raise, promote them or keep them on the payroll? Would you feel you’re getting your money’s worth if they’re on salary?
MORE THAN 3 HOURS A DAY?
The Washington Post reports that on average teens spend nearly nine hours a day on social media. Are you someone who can pry away from a screen easily? Can you go for several hours without engaging? Are you comfortable attending events without your smart gadget? Engage in live conversations instead.
Imagine how much more accomplished you’d be if instead of spending nine hours a day on social media, you took up an instrument or a new discipline? What about volunteering for a few hours each day while you leave your device behind? I venture to say you’d be happier and more fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the world cannot operate without gadgets but I recognize that they’ve taken away precious time from acquiring other skills that may be more in line with our calling.
FEELING A NEED TO POST ANYTHING
Are you someone who can’t just follow a group’s conversation without adding an Emoji or making a comment every time someone writes something? This can be irritating for others in the group who may not be interested in your likes or opinions. Put your phone down. There are better uses of your time. Maybe the dog needs a walk. Maybe you’re overdue to go to the gym. Maybe it’s time to think about dinner. Keep your phone out of someone else’s conversation.
There’s a fine line between participating and irritable posting in a group. Showing appreciation for someone in a group is nice just don’t overdo it. Incessant participation means you’ve developed a pattern and patterns, like habits, are hard to break.
MULTIPLE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?
How many social media accounts do you have? Can you consolidate? If your business doesn’t require it, why have so many? What can you accomplish with several accounts that you can’t with only one? Only you can answer these questions.
Having too many accounts is a nuisance. It requires remembering or safely keeping somewhere countless user names and passwords as well as spending time maintaining them. If you’re going to keep multiple accounts, at least work smarter. This is where syndication works nicely. If you must post to several accounts, there are platforms like Onlywire that will send out to all of them.
More isn’t necessarily better. When it comes to social media, sometimes posting less is more. It gives your follower an opportunity to fill in the gaps and reach out to you to learn more. It’s basic Advertising 101. Don’t give out too much information or there’s no reason for people to contact you!
CREATING SEVERAL CHAT GROUPS
Some people incessantly create new chat groups. Groups are great for keeping members posted on breaking news, meetings, classes, and updates but it’s important to be respectful and not use a group to vent or “speak your mind”. No one appreciates verbal diarrhea. If you’re lonely, go out and meet someone!
There’s group chat etiquette. You don’t need to post something in a group chat when it is intended for only one person. Why not let the individual decide if the information is important enough for the rest of the group to know.
If you’re prone to creating groups, ask yourself what value and intention it has. From the onset, have rules about who can engage and how it should operate. Without these guidelines in place, they can become a free for all. Lately, I’ve turned off all the sounds on my phone because I’m tired of incessant alerts from continuous postings.
The more groups you start, the more distractions you’ll have, the less efficient you’ll be and the less productive your day.
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