How much social media addiction is enough?

iPad

iPad image courtesy of 3rdworldman, Morguefile.

I watched a thought-provoking viral video today called “Look Up” (see the video below). It’s a short film produced by British writer and director Gary Turk.

He makes the excellent point that sometimes we’re missing on basic human activities because we’re constantly checking our social media sites on smartphones and tablet computers. Some of us have come to base our worth on social media; we get satisfaction from likes, followers and comments but experience disappointment if no one bothers to say anything about what we’ve posted online. It seems like it’s become a measure of how good we are when one posting gets a lot of feedback and then the next one seems virtually ignored.

As somebody who enjoys using social media both professionally and on an amateur basis, this video resonated with me. I remember going to dinner with two friends once, one of whom kept scrolling through his smartphone. It was hard to hold a meaningful conversation with him, which was mildly bothersome since my parent and I had traveled a long way to meet them and we weren’t sure when we’d get together again. I was tempted to tell him, “Look up!”

But at the same time, I’m in a profession that requires the constant and skilled use of social media. I carefully craft my social media messages according to the platform and it’s designed to evoke a certain response from readers. I enjoy the art of crafting the message and seeing what others make of it.

It’s easy to get lost in social media. I’ll watch YouTube videos or read/comment on other blogs and before I know it, two or three hours whisk by.

I’m always curious to know how others received something I posted in social media (such as Facebook or Twitter). Sooner or later, that curiosity pulls me back to the computer because I have that temptation to check, even if I’ve been away from the computer for a few days. Am I an addict? Maybe a mild one.

Social media amazes us, entertains us and educates us. But do we go too far with our attention to it?

Moderation is key, perhaps. Your thoughts, blog readers?

25 Comments

Filed under Social Media

25 responses to “How much social media addiction is enough?

  1. Great video and message. This is the challenge today–to give attention to those around you instead of just our phones or whatever we hold in our hands. I’ve started a new rule in my home where my kids can only use their electronics downstairs (and never in their rooms). I see them more now and we can talk; before they would get lost in their rooms as they carried on their electronic friendships. I don’t believe I need to take it away from them (because that’s the new way of life), but I want them to be able to do the moderation like you talked about.

  2. Moderation is key but I get frantic about keeping up with social media for business purposes and being self-employed adds to the pressure. Having been without my computer for a month while it was in hospital, I had such a good time reading books that I realised I mustn’t panic, however badly I need money for mere survival, and allow myself much more down time.

  3. Servetus

    I think you have to decide when you’re *not* going to use it. If you can’t do that, if there’s no part of your life it doesn’t permeate, then maybe you have a problem, but I think as long as you’re deciding consciously when to use it / not use it you’re okay :)

  4. Thanks for posting. Society/ the world is evolving with the availability of portable devices. The kids growing up now will never have known life without screens. I am seeing more constantly checking/reading/texting while eating or being in a group. I can’t help feeling annoyed.
    Still, I understand some of it having worked for years with companies long distant or international and having to keep them updated with information, troubleshooting, relaying progress with clients and projects. Keeping websites updated. Contacting people – all online. My husband works with clients/companies internationally, so time zones and work schedules are 24 hours now. Does get exhausting.
    Social media is isolating as the video says. So much computer use is changing how human brains function. It is so easy to sit down to read just a few blogs – and then hours have gone by. (but you chat with friends and keep up with them…does that count?..all on your own time schedule – not by face to face in person encounters…)
    I think my dog is a reality check – a tether to the real world. She has to walk – we pass neighbors and friends walking dogs. Without her, would I disappear into cyber space? Must remember to open the windows – the sounds of birds, the trees, even the garbage truck are reminders that life is out there. Yep, dogs, Obi Wan, our only hope?
    Great post and

  5. True enough how easy it is to seek validation through the media postings versus just going through the day. Extrinsic and intrinsic rewards have dramatically changed since social media grew so much.

  6. Wow! Just watched the video. Gonna share it with my students…

  7. My thought is that I need to take a nature walk. :)

  8. Such a great video! That moment where he missed the love of his life simply because he was looking down gave me goosebumps. I think it’s easy to get caught up in social media, but I feel that as long as you don’t let it interfere with your face time with other people, you’re still “safe”.

    Whenever I’m hanging out with someone and they pay too much attention to their phone, I have to fight the urge to snatch their phone away! It’s not just addiction anymore, it’s rude! =[

  9. It really annoys me when people sit watching their mobile phones in restaurants. I have been known to tell friends to put them away. It is rude and completely unnessessary. I don’t use a mobile phone as a personal protest. I don’t like Facebook and can’t see the point of Twitter. Why can’t people just talk to each other? I know I have a blog, but I rarely share personal stuff there.

  10. YES! Despite being firmly wedged between Gen Xers & Millennials, my all-time biggest pet peeve EVER is people who distractedly patter away on iPhones while attempting to do seemingly basic things like walk or visit with friends. Drives me crazy. Can you tell? ;) (Sorry to get all rant-y)

  11. Thanks for this post. I find social media overwhelming. I just got rid of my Face book account. I don’t have a Twitter account and all the others just baffle me. Blogging is my only social media outlet and that’s quite enough of a time and energy sucker. Bloggers like me (3 years into it) are considered older timers. I’ve seen so many people disappear and so many new people are now following my blog as a marketing strategy. Even blogging is changing… I often feel in over my head.

    I got into it to help sell my books. Once I’ve tried to sell my 2nd (and probably final) book, I’ll probably sign off, too. The whole social media thing is like a monster that feeds on itself and just keeps growing…

    • Social media is rather like physical fitness, I think; you’ve got to keep putting effort into it to achieve something. And it is a huge time suck, that is true.

      I’ve seen a lot of talented bloggers stop blogging, which I regret because I enjoyed their posts. Maybe they’ll come back sometime.

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