Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Twitter Love

I love the freedom social media gives me. I love the way I can connect with people who, in the pre-social media world, I would never have met. I love reaching out with my words and ideas, knowing that someone “out there” may read them. 

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?

If, like me, you display any or all of these symptoms, chances are, you’re addicted (or well on the way to a social media addiction!)

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?

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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.

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15 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

I enjoy twitter too - I like the fact that's it's easy to miss a few days and it's no big deal. It's also a fast way to keep up with people. I tend to stick with it and blogging ... so far :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm addicted, too. I still manage to do other things, but I love to check in to Twitter and Pinterest. I'm sad that many of the people I followed blogging have dropped out or slowed way down, but I think it's a time thing. There are only so many hours, and we are supposed to spend some of them writing!

Birdie said...

I used to love social media and now I have grown to dislike all of it. I no longer use Twitter or Facebook. I still do love blogging though.

Tabouleh said...

I do not go onto Linkedin or Twitter that much but I do visit from time to time and post some stuff I find an interest in... when I do visit, I find them fun... I might not be that skilled though with the both of them... I find Facebook better to keep me in touch with my friends and family and my blog with my online friends... still I totally understand how addictive it is....

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy .. you're so right - addiction is abounding. I've managed to keep FB down to practically nothing - helps not having kids and not being particularly connected to friends with kids.

I have twitter but don't use it ..

I hardly use my mobile phone - and rarely carry it around with me.

I'm not an author, but am a writer (I guess) .. as a blogger ...

Things will probably change soon and then we'll see ..

Glad you rescued your blackberry out of the bin!! When I'm away I'm away - I hate it when people are constantly checking everything ..

Good post .. cheers Hilary

Cold As Heaven said...

I think we can get addicted to anything that gives a quick response, be it Facebook, Twitter, WorldOfWarcraft or online poker. That's the way the human brain works, searching for stimulation. I try to limit the number of social networks I use. Therefore I'm not into the most recent ones, and probably won't be >:)

Cold As Heaven

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

JEMI: Haha! That “so far” sounds ominous!! :) But, yes, Twitter is the SM I can use most conveniently because it seems to take up the least time (you get a lot more tweets in for the same time your spend on Facebook or Blogger). But I do try to keep FB & Bmy blog at least ticking over.

TRICIA: I haven’t even dared look at Pinterest as I’m sure I’d be adding it to my social media!! :) I’ve also noticed a drop in Blogging,and I agree with you that it’s because there are just so many hours in the day and writing is supposed to take the No 1 spot!

BIRDIE: My facebook presence is dropping because of the 4 social media I use the most, it’s my least favourite. I love blogging, but just haven’t had the time this year to be very active in it. (and it’s amazing how much spare time I have!!)

TABOULEH: It’s all about keeping a workable balance, and you sound as if you’ve found that! I tend to have periods of high activity, then periods of no activity. I’m working on trying to get a better balance in using my various SM sites. (I can live in hope!) :)

HILARY: You are definitely a writer! And your blog is a marvellous place to visit – you always put so much into your posts, I can understand why you don’t use the other sites. Because you focus so well on blogging only the quality shows in your blog posts. But I’ve got a grasshopper mind (and a short attention span) so I tend to flit hither and thither just touching base with the different sites (except Twitter! I LOVE Twitter!!)

COLD: Absolutely! We live in the age of instant gratification! And…on-line poker??? My Dad taught me how to play poker, but he said I was a bad player because you could see on my face what my hand was like – but that wouldn’t be a problem on-line so maybe I should…NO! I’m not even going there!!!! :)

Linda Cassidy Lewis said...

I've back off all social media except blogging ... and even that has suffered.

I guess the "fun" of Twitter depends on who you connect with. For me, I never really found my niche. I have almost 2,000 followers, but only a few ever interacted with me. I certainly never experienced the "cosy club" feeling you have.

I hope you keep your addiction under control. Social media can swallow your writing time whole.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

LINDA: I don't connect with everyone I'd like to on twitter - it's impossible once the followers get over 500. But I've learnt to just accept that I can't do it all, so I've worked out a little system: in my allocated time, I zip through the latest tweets. Those that catch my eye I interact with, trying to make sure I connect with different people. It's not ideal, but it (sort of) works for me. I also tweet from my Blackberry, when I'm standing in queues or waiting at Drs etc. Tweets are convenient for that in that they're so short. :)

But the danger lies, of course, in the addictive nature which, as you say, swallows up the writing time.

Sigh.

oceangirl said...

There is no more line that separates, a friend is a friend, virtual or real.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

OCEAN GIRL - very true! All these social media tools have one thing in common - they destroy geographical boundaries and allow us to connect as friends and people no matter where we are. No wonder I love it so much! :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Hi Judy, can't believe it's taken me this long to get over here.

I love my blog but don't have nearly as much time to spend on it as I want. But I am finding Twitter (after my initial reluctance) rather addicting. You're so right, it only takes a quick minute to post. But like this morning, I only wanted to be there to make two Tweets, and I ended up reading 3 articles, "talking" to 4 friends, retweeted 3 more things, and then finally forgot what I was doing there in the first place.

I need to find the happy medium.

septembermom said...

I don't really know how to fully jump into Twitter. I think you'll need to give me a few pointers, Judy :)

Lauri said...

By that definition I'm definitely addicted.I think I also need to shut it all off once in awhile. It does interfere, especially when writing fiction. You need to be emersed and social media doesn't allow that.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

ANNE: That’s my trouble with twitter too - I need to find the happy medium, or I can lose hours tweeting this and tweeting that! That’s why I’m trying to train myself to only access twitter and other social media AFTER my day’s writing is done.

KELLY: So *great* to have you visit again! Anytime you want some pointers on Twitter, just ask! (but be prepared to get addicted fast!)

LAURI: I’m a Twitter addict too! And my cold turkey will be coming soon, because I’ll be starting my new novel shortly and will have to switch off. Writing poetry is okay, because it’s short and leaves time fro SM, but full length novels needs totally immersion and social media doesn’t allow that. So if I’m quiet you’ll know what I’m up too! :)