We live in the digital age. Spending time and engaging on the internet is daily routine for most people. 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. 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 of participation on the Internet, you may have developed a habit. What are the indicators that you may be abusing its use or need help breaking away? 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.

 

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.

 

It’s a trap to measure your self by what you see or read online. 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 they way they have but it doesn’t make you any less worthy. You are unique and super in some way. Spend time finding out what that is.

 

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 and with through your images. There’s no need to embellish your true self.

 

Have you ever met someone personally who is half of what they said online? In business, this is misrepresentation.

 

We’re all a bit guilty of puffing a little when it comes to our internet profiles. It’s best to let people decide if they really “like” you after they meet you face to face. Set up a meet-up with an online friend to get to know them. This brings me to my next point.

 

 

MEETING FACE TO FACE IS UNCOMFORTABLE?

 

This may be a sign that you’re loosing or becoming weak with your interpersonal skills. It’s not unheard of nor uncommon for this to happen. Social media addiction is growing and it’s affecting how we interact.

 

Humans are geared to be in community. A lot of depression has been attributed to the lack of social communication lately because of smart gadgets. It’s important to have personal interaction. It’s essential for our survival.

 

One can sense people’s emotions and thoughts by their presence, helping us to have better interaction. Have you ever met someone and your heart raced from excitement or shrunk in fear?  When you can “read” someone’s eyes as they stand in front of you, they can tell you a lot. This can’t be done on a computer screen. Spending time in community is important for health and happiness.

 

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.

 

USING SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCTIVELY?

 

How are you using social media? Are you following a gossipy conversation? Before engaging in a group chat, ask yourself how is this contributing to your personal growth and the furthering of others? Following a conversation can be valuable when it is thought provoking or empowering. Try to be the one that always brings value to a chat and only when necessary.

 

When engaging in social media, don’t accept everything as gospel truth. Question what you read or see. The most recent U.S. elections proved how online information can be manipulated. Learn to be a skeptical consumer.

 

As the owner of Laptop Freedom Experts my core values include transparency, trustworthiness, providing value and integrity. It’s in good will and with the intention of leaving behind a better world that I offer an education to improve people’s lives and minds.

 

As an example, how is posting a picture of you’re eating a bagel contributing? Or how is posting an emoji every time someone writes something on a group chat valuable? If you want people to know you’re happy about something, talk to them individually. Better yet, go see them. Otherwise, you’re just filling up other people’s screens with useless content.

 

 

LOST OR NERVOUS IF YOU MISPLACE YOUR PHONE?

 

Who hasn’t forgotten or lost their phone at some point? I’ve turned around to retrieve mine but only when I’ve been 2 – 3 blocks away from home. If I’m any further and unless I’m in the middle of a business transaction, I purposely keep going to prove to myself that I can live without it. There’s no greater captor than fear and I never want a gadget to control me.

 

POSTPONING OR IGNORING RESPONSIBILITIES

 

In digital marketing there are dozens of to do’s each day. Engaging on social media is merely one of them. There are ads to be placed. Analytics to be studied. Websites to be designed. 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.

 

I have a responsibility to myself, my family and to my followers and although social media is an alluring part of my daily activities, I’ve learned to balance and prioritize them.

 

An entire day can easily be spent on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other platforms. I’m guilty of doing it but only because at times my business requires it.

 

How much time is spending too much on social media? Only you know. If you’re ignoring chores at home, your family, your homework or office duties in favor of Snapchatting, posting or Facetiming, then it’s time to change your modus operandi. Think of it this way and let’s turn the roles around. If you were your boss, would you be happy with how much time you’re on your phone texting, video chatting or posting?

 

 

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?  Rely less on your devices and more on engaging in live social environments.

 

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, more fulfilled and self-realized.  While social media has revolutionized how we interact, it’s also taken away precious time from acquiring new skills.

 

Some people spend excessively long hours following someone else’s status and posting.  A word of caution, this can be seen as stalking. It’s important to curve our appetites when it comes to other people’s lives.

 

FEELING A NEED TO POST ANYTHING

 

Are you someone who can’t just follow a group’s conversation without posting an Emoji 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.  But whatever you do, keep your phone out of it.

 

There’s a fine line between participating and irritable posting in a group chat. Having a fondness for a person or a group and posting that is nice but, incessant engagement means you’ve developed a habit. Habits are hard to break.

 

 

MULTIPLE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?

 

How many social media accounts do you have? Can you consolidate some? 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 countless user names and passwords as well as spending time maintaining them. This is where syndication works nicely. If you must have multiple accounts, there are platforms like Onlywire that will send out one post to all of them. If you’re going to keep multiple accounts, at least work smarter.

 

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, be creative in their mind and even reach out to you to learn more. That’s the true value of social media.

 

The first rule in advertising successfully is to tweek someone’s interest without giving away all the information and avoiding the need for them 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 be respectful of its members and don’t use a group to vent or literally “speak your mind”. No one appreciates verbal diarrhea. It’s the same for written mediums.

 

There’s group chat etiquette. You don’t need to post something on a group chat when it is intended for only one person. Why not let each individual decide who they want to speak with?

 

If you’re someone who loves to create chat 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 noise from continual unnecessary 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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