“Hi, my name is Alex and I am an addict. I am addicted to Social Media. I love Facebook. I love Twitter. I cannot go through a day without checking Facebook and updating my status at least once. The “Like” button is a drug to me and the comments are the high. The more comments I get from a status update, the higher I feel. My phone is never off, so when I wake-up in the morning I can immediately check Facebook. I’ve even been dabbling in LinkedIn and Instagram a lot lately. And the games, let’s not forget about the games. Candy Crush Saga is meth. Just one more level. One more try to get past level 415.
Does this sound familiar? Are you glued to your phone or computer or tablet, just to check your Facebook status and tweet something you feel is useful? Do you stay up nights playing Candy Crush Saga, Words with Friends, or Angry Birds? Do you feel you have to take a picture wherever you go and post it to Instagram? Do you talk in hash-tags? When you communicate with your spouse or significant other, do you do so through IM or comments? When your phone loses power, do you get cold sweats? When you post a status update and you do not receive any likes, are you crestfallen? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be an addict.
Social Media has revolutionized the way we communicate with people. First, there was MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter. Now there is Vine and Instagram and LinkedIn and Get Glue and Four Square. People post status updates about anything and everything; from their what they had for dinner to their latest sexual exploits to how drunk they were last night. Of course there are the pictures well. Who hasn’t posted a picture of their favorite dinner or their child or road sign they have found funny? What about your child’s first day of school or a video of your child taking his first steps? Lest we not forget the cats. Social Media was made for pictures of cats. Cats sleeping, cats eating, cats jumping, cats in costume, cats with thought bubbles over their heads, angry cats, sad cats, Grumpy Cat, cats sleeping on laundry, cats sleeping in boxes, cats playing with garbage, and of course, cats meowing.
Finally, there are the games. Candy Crush Saga is the current fad. But, in the beginning there was Farmville. Who among you had a farm and would log on every two hours to harvest your crops before they died? Who decorated their farm for all of the holidays? Who sent a million a requests for friends to tend their farm while they were away? Now of course Candy Crush has captured our imagination. How hasn’t yelled at the computer when time runs out and you haven’t gotten 100,000 points? Or, you have one move and two jellies left to clear? Who among you have wanted to throw your phone against the wall when the bomb explodes with four moves left and almost completing that dreadful level which you have been stuck on for weeks?
Yes, Social Media is addicting. Who can relate to the video below?
Or what about this man?
With all of the good that Social Media can do, there are obviously those who have a problem. It’s one thing to post a status update and communicate with friends. It’s another thing to get violent and angry when someone questions you about the money you have spent on games. So, what can be done? Well, for one thing, put down the phone and close Facebook. That silly tweet you’ve been thinking of on the drive home, probably is not so silly after all. Save your tweets for something special. People do not need to know that you woke-up at 3 am to use the bathroom and have a cookie. Instead of playing Candy Crush, maybe read a book, or at least a chapter (and no, not a book on how to defeat Candy Crush). If you feel the need to take a picture of your child using the toilet for the first time, keep it to yourself. There is really no need to post that to Facebook or Instagram. When your cat is asleep in a box, no matter how cute you think he is, just walk by and let him be. There will be other moments to capture on film. And, just when you feel that the world has to know you are watching Friday the Thirteenth Part 27, maybe, just maybe they don’t.
We have all committed Social Media sins. Most of us have taken to our platform of choice and vented about an ex or a problem. Sometimes we post out of sheer boredom and silliness. But, instead of staying awake playing the games, read a book. I realized I had a problem when I tried to go to sleep after playing Candy Crush and couldn’t because I was so worked up from near misses. No more Candy before bed for me. But, in all seriousness, if you have spent $400 on power-ups for your games or have ignored dinner and your spouse for weeks on end; if you are more concerned about what a friend (who’ve never met before) has to say about what you had for dinner, maybe it is time to get some help. Addiction can take many forms; alcohol, gambling, sex, drugs, gaming and now Social Media. If you can’t quit cold turkey, maybe it’s time to seek out someone who can help. I think Facebook has an app for it.