No one knows better than I how useful social media has become in recent years. Not only is it an awesome marketing tool but it allows us to stay in touch with loved ones and friends from virtually anywhere in the world. Today most people take for granted that we can contact almost anyone that we know with a simple post on a number of popular social websites. Chances are that unless someone is sleeping you can easily get in touch with them.
Recently there has been a lot of controversy regarding what many consider to be a growing problem in today’s techno savvy world; namely an obsession, an addiction to using social media networks. We’ve all seen someone that is constantly checking their iPhone or tablet for IM’s & posts. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with this person? If you read my last blog regarding the importance of proper eye contact than you know that constantly looking at a screen while talking to someone in person is downright rude. If you want to send someone a signal that you’re not interested in anything they have to say, this is one great way to get your point across.
The next time that you’re at the mall with one of your friends or associates, make a note to count how many times they glance at the screen in a five minute period in the midst of a conversation with you. While you’re at it, check yourself, you just might be surprised. Be sure to take notice if they are actually replying on their mobile device of choice at the same time you are talking to them. Do you do the same thing? Many times I have seen two people sitting together in a public place not talking to each other but tapping away on the latest and greatest technological gizmo.
A recent study conducted by IDC (the International Data Corporation) shows that 25% of Smartphone owners between the ages of 18 – 44 admit that they cannot remember the last time they did not have their Smartphone next to them. Not surprising, Facebook is considered to be the most addicting social network of them all. While many of us depend on social networking as a form of marketing as well as for personal use, the vast majority of users have no business related purpose for using any of the popular networking sites.
If you suspect that you have become a bit too dependent on social media, here are a few tips for dealing with what just might be an unhealthy obsession.
Admit you have a problem
Take a good look at your habits. If you “sign in” before you’ve touched your toothbrush in the morning, it might be time for a change. Take a good look at yourself and be honest. Are you ignoring people when they speak to you? Are you on any of the popular social sites continually? If not, are you signing in multiple times each day to see “what’s going on”? If you can’t go a day without checking in than you should consider making a change. Here’s an online test that you can take to help determine if you have a problem.
Examine the reasons WHY you use social media sites
Business is one thing but the time that you spend on social sites for personal use is quite another. The number 1 reason that people give for being online is boredom. There are many ways to combat boredom without the need to live in a virtual world. Visit with a friend, take the dog for a walk or simply read a book. Isn’t it better to spend some personal time with someone that you care about? A hug is much better than a “like’. It’s much healthier too.
Strive to find the proper “balance”
Remember the old saying “Moderation in all things”? It’s very good advice. Would you allow your teenager to watch television from morning to night, 7 days a week? I venture to say that most of us would answer this question with a resounding no and social media is no different. Self control is one sign of a healthy and well adjusted person, obsession is not.
Limit your online time
It’s not as hard to do as you might think. If you feel that excessive time online is interfering with things that you need to do on a daily basis than the answer is quite simple. Limit yourself to a specified amount of time online each day and stick to it. 1 or 2 hours a day is enough time for anyone to spend tapping away with colleagues, friends and family members.