Social Media Users Anonymous

Real quick question: what’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

For a lot of people, that phone is grabbed and they’re tuned into the wonderful world of social media. Most would argue there isn’t anything wrong with this habit, but when does it become harmful? When does a habit become an addiction, and what does the line between the two comprise of?

One thing that made sense in Kanye West’s recent storm of tweets (and there weren’t many) was the idea of using your morning to get in tune with yourself before logging into the madness of the Internet. With so much going on today, it’s almost a need to know what’s going on. Considering our president, I’d say the concern is warranted. However, when does it become more than a concern and almost like a drug? Like you literally can’t go days without it. If you get a little tingly in the pants when your tweet goes viral or your Instagram posts are consistently hitting over 100 likes, you may have a problem.

Nothing wrong with wanting attention. Nothing at all. We’ve conditioned ourselves to be angry at people who enjoy being noticed. It’s when you’re doing the absolute most to garner said attention that it becomes an issue. I’ve written about The Clout Effect before, so I won’t delve deeper into this realm. However, this can be a derivative of social media addiction.

Ever log out of Twitter and literally hop right back into the app just off muscle memory alone? Ever hop on Facebook and find yourself scrolling so far that you look up and hours have passed? A thorough definition for addiction is ‘the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming,’ word to I’ve seen people give up social media for lent because it was that distracting to their everyday lifestyles.  Being enslaved may sound dramatic but when your tasks go underway because you’re too busy laughing at Twitter, you might want to make some changes. So many of us are procrastinators by nature, and social media definitely hasn’t helped to remedy that. As a member of Social Media Users Anonymous (hey, the first step is admittance, right?), I have a few tips that have helped me.

It’s always important to detox yourself when you’ve been far too immersed in the thoughts and feelings of others. Reading social media every day all day can weigh heavy due to the discussions of very serious topics. There are some who issue trigger warnings for those more sensitive to what’s shared, but not everything has a shield before you see it. Unless you do social media management for a living or have a business to run where you command your own accounts, it’s ok to take a break sometimes. Even if it’s a quick 24-48 hours, it can definitely show you how dependent you may be while giving relief.

Sometimes, I delete the apps from my phone so my muscle memory won’t bring me to them unnecessarily. That way, if I make the decision to log on, the process is a lot more tedious. You can even set a schedule for yourself; only give yourself a couple of hours a day to surf your SM pages. Use that extra time to be more productive towards your home, children, or even your own passion you whine about ‘not having time for.’ Either way, find a way to detach yourself from those worlds and you’ll be all the better for it.

Come see me at the next meeting for Social Media Users Anonymous; we got snacks and juice in the back.