I cautiously started with blogging. Then I progressed to Facebook. Soon Twitter followed, and then came LinkedIn, Google+, My Space, StumbleUpon, Digg, FlickR and Tumblr.
These days, I can’t open my inbox without an invitation to another social media site popping up.
Twitter is by far my favourite social media site: it’s quick, it’s snappy, it’s informative and it’s fun! I feel as if I’m a member of a cosy club. But it’s dangerously addictive. As I interact more and more with people across the globe, a disturbing feature has crept in: I’m spending most of my free time interacting with people through a computer.
Can you be addicted to social media?
In her Brainblogger article No Man’s Land, Veronica Pamoukaghlian, MA, says that although social media addiction is not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the emergence of this new type of addiction is sweeping the world from Asia to America.
Social Media Strategist, Jeff Bullas, provides some interesting statistics on social media addictions (and you can take a poll to see where on the scale you fall!)
The top five symptoms of social media addiction are:
· You spend more than four hours a day on-line: This includes the time you spend using your mobile phone. Do you check your social media updates on your mobile first thing in the morning and last thing at night?
· Your life-style has become reclusive and sedentary: Do you have more on-line friends than real friends?
· You access social media while you’re doing other tasks: Do you walk and check your Facebook updates? Do you eat and tweet? Do you struggle to finish ordinary tasks because you’re constantly distracted by the next tweet, status or blog comment?
· You easily lose track of the time you spend on-line: How often do you intend to spend only “a few minutes” on-line, only to find when you switch off, you’ve lost hours?
· You feel anxious when unable to connect on-line: Is the first thing you pack when going on vacation your iPhone or Blackberry? Do you panic when you realise you’re out and about and you’ve forgotten your phone at home?
So, what’s a girl to do? Stand up and say, “Hello. My name is Judy. I am a Tweetaholic?”
As I said to my husband when he threatened to throw my Blackberry in the bin, it’s simply too much to ask me to go cold turkey and give up all my social media at once. Besides, I whined, a social media presence is essential for anyone involved in the writing profession!
But, to save my precious Blackberry, I decided that I couldn’t do it all, hear it all, and participate in it all. After all, writing is the most important part of being a writer.
Now, there’s no on-line time for me until I’ve met my writing goals for the day. I still find time to go onto my social media, but now that time is limited to what’s left over from the day after all other tasks are completed.
The interesting thing is, by limiting my on-line time, when I do find myself revisiting my old love Twitter, there’s less guilt and more fun. And isn’t that the best of both worlds?
This article was originally written by Judy Croome for children's author Jo Ann Kairys at www.storyquestbooks.com/blog as part f Jo Ann's Virtual Blog Tour 2012.