I read somewhere that some people check their phones hundreds of times per day. Consider the smartphones today – you just have to press that one button at the bottom of the phone and the screen magically lights up and shows you how many people are reading your posts, responding to your messages, favoriting your tweets, liking your breakfasts. It’s intoxicating. Right?
But when does checking your notifications become an all consuming addiction? I read an article which lists 12 signs that you’re addicted to social media. I only do 3 of them, so I’m almost certain I’m not an addict. One of mine is using the word hashtag in real life. I’m pretty sure I just do that ironically 😉
The article is actually quite funny but I’m sure that there are many people who do many of those things daily. Psychologists have even done a study showing that we prefer electric shocks to our own company – watch the very short video here.
My reasoning for considering it an addiction is this: when I wake up, I press that button on my phone. I say that it’s to check the time, but often I don’t actually take notice of what time it is because instead I “see” the pile of notifications that have come through overnight. And then I have to hit the button again to find out what time it is and realize that I have to get up and organized!
Breakfast has become a one-handed task so that the other hand can hold the phone. Ad breaks on TV equals time for me to check my accounts, read quick blog posts, scroll through Twitter.
But can I go without it? Short answer, yes. I don’t check social media while I’m at work, except at lunchtime. I have a separate phone for work and have disabled the notifications for those apps on that phone, or not installed them at all. When I’m driving, I do try to leave my bag in the boot of the car so that I can’t see the phones. This is more about road safety than anything else. It is so easy to be distracted by your phone that I dare not risk it.
Yes I think I can go without it, but do I want to? Is it hurting me? Some thoughts are that social media is too inward-looking, antisocial in fact, and causing us to avoid other things in our lives. Some even suggest that it causes stress, anxiety, disconnection and loneliness!!
I think it depends on how you use it.
Let’s define how I use social media: WordPress, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Goodreads – this list is in order of how much I use them. Although that’s changing slightly. Less Facebook, more Pinterest. And I’ve only just linked my blog to Google+ so I’m not sure if that’s worthwhile. Google+ is strange to me, it doesn’t seem to have anything special to differentiate itself from Facebook, so what’s the point? Oh and what about about.me?? I have a page but I’m really unclear on how I should be using it.
Mostly, it’s my blog and Instagram that drive my need to press that home button on my phone. I love to find out who has connected with which posts and photos. I love reading what people have to say, hearing feedback, reading new posts and seeing wonderful photographs from around the world.
I use Twitter mainly as a source of news and finding interesting scientific articles. I use Facebook to keep in touch with acquaintances, friends overseas, and I share any weird travel things that have happened to me recently or photos from an outing with friends or family. Good friends I will always see in person as well as call and text. I have only just discovered the plethora of information on Pinterest and I’m finding that to be a very cool resource.
I first started my blog as a place to share my photos, to connect with other amateur photographers and to find out whether my photography skills were ok. But it has become so much more than that. It has become a hub, it has given me access to a community of people who are creative and open and talented and supportive. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting some of these people in person and I feel like it has opened up my circle of friends and broadened my view and knowledge of the world. I am absolutely thrilled that I took the plunge and started posting my photos and thoughts and words. It has been a fantastic experience all round.
So the downsides? Mostly, I don’t read books anymore. I used to read a book in about a week. I would buy books all the time, scan them into Goodreads, and read and read and read. I’m still reading, but I’m not reading books so much. I’m reading blog posts, comments, replies… Is this bad? I originally thought it was bad that I don’t read novels as often as I used to, but now I think maybe it’s better. Or just different. It’s ok… Now I’m reading real live thoughts from real live people. And then I’m interacting with those real live people as well. I am loving the social nature of blogging.
When I’m physically at home, in my house, then I’m usually in front of the computer or have the phone in my hand and I’m doing blog-related things – reading posts, writing posts, editing photos, scrolling through Instagram…. Is that ok?
Do I care if it’s ok? Am I happy anyway?
Yes, I’m happy anyway. And I make the effort to be social with people in the flesh as well as through the web-based portals.
I recently bought a book called “Go Offline and Be Inspired” with 135 ideas for unplugging, recharging and re-energizing and it includes a specific 30 day challenge – I’m very keen to give it a go and I will start it soon. If you want to join me, let me know, I’ll set up a page. Actually that might make me more accountable!
Can I give up social media? Yes, I think so.
Do I want to? Absolutely not.
Is it nice to take a break occasionally? Yes… But I love coming back. 😉
Tell me… What are your favourite social media platforms? Are you an addict, open and proud Are you a closeted addict? Or are you so completely nonchalant about the whole thing that you should be wearing skinny jeans and sporting a really big, but perfectly groomed beard?
PS Feel free to help fuel my addiction, click on the social media icons in my menu to connect with me. Particularly on Pinterest, as I’m just getting started and quite the newbie. But you are always welcome everywhere else as well!!
PPS If anyone has any insights into how I should be using about.me please let me know!
PPPS Let’s send these pics to Lucile’s Photo101 Rehab Clinic. One of my favourite social places!