12-Step Program to Overcome Social Media Addiction (humor)
According to this article on Fox News today, “…preliminary data provided to The Guardian suggests the highest rate of “self-control failures” were tied to social media services.” And then there’s a recent post by my friend Ali Goldfield of ADR Social Media that takes a humorous look at behaviors that might indicate you’re a little too attached to your social media.
Do I have a problem? Do you have a problem?
I haven’t 100% come to the conclusion that I’m a “social media addict”, but, out of fear that I might be headed down that path, I’ve developed this quick and easy (unofficial and not to be used as a substitute for professional psychological or psychiatric advice) 12-Step Program for Overcoming Social Media Addiction.
Acknowledge that you have problem. Refer back to Ali’s 13 Signs You’re Addicted To Social Media. Do five or more of the characteristics in the self-assessment apply to you? If “yes”, continue to Step 2. Note: It’s OK to take time to weep a little first.
Accept that you have a problem. At this phase, it’s still perfectly acceptable to tweet and post comments on Facebook and Google Plus with abandon. Enjoy it, because the other steps will go “military” soon enough.
Take inventory. Just how much time do you spend on social media anyway? Track your time on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn (although I don’t know that anyone is truly addicted to LinkedIn…except for me with my fascination for seeing who viewed my profile on any given day). On second thought, maybe it would be easier to track how much time you’re NOT on social media. Use whatever approach makes the most sense for you, and then post your findings on all of your social networks.
Find a buddy. You’re going to need a friend for support and encouragement. Find someone who either completely understands where you’re coming from (ie. another social media addict) or someone who thinks “Facebook” is what the cool kids are calling their high school yearbooks these days.
Baby step away. Social media detox won’t happen overnight. Start by reeling back a post here, a post there every day until you’re able to hold at least a 15-minute conversation with a friend or loved one without checking to see if anyone “plussed” your last post.
Give it up on weekends. Just say “no” to social media on Saturdays and Sundays. Here’s where I pat myself on the back and tell myself, “See Dawn, you really don’t have a problem.” I don’t tweet at all on weekends (well, almost all weekends), and I do minimal on Facebook and LinkedIn then. Hmmm, sometimes I do catch up on Google Plus, because I generally don’t pay as much attention to it as I think I should during the week. Oh, for goodness sake…I guess I need to work on that one, too.
Turn off email notifications from social media networks. Seriously, this will stop the madness to some extent. I admit to doing this more so to stop my email in box from going into complete overload, than I did for the purpose of weaning myself off social media. Regardless, it’s a way to cut the cord. If you do this, you deserve credit for it no matter what motivated you.
Break it to your friends and fans. Some will be hurt. Some will cry. Some will yell. Some will post mean-spirited one-liners in protest. Share with them that it’s not personal. You need your space.
Find new friends and fans outside of social media. Okay, good luck with that one.
Find new ways to spend your time. You know, like cooking something more involved than Ramen Noodles, talking face-to-face to your spouse and children, taking a shower….
Reflect on how far you’ve come. Congratulate yourself on your accomplishments. It’s not easy to resist the lure of social media and the instant gratification of peer acceptance that comes with it. Any small step to minimize the obsession is worthy of celebration. And if you haven’t made any progress using these steps…
Lower your expectations. Progress is in the eye of the beholder. For goodness sake, set the bar low, and give yourself something to work with! 😉