During our departmental faculty meeting, our chair asked us to introduce ourselves and give a little secret that everyone knows nothing about. When it was my turn to “spill out” my secret, I told them, “I am an addict.” So much to their surprise. And I continued, “A social media addict.” After some time, I came to reflect on what I divulged and the word “addict” might seem a misnomer for my not-so-excessive use of the social media. True, as explained, that I have accounts on every social media platform, and honestly, I, just like everybody else, maximize the use of these sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Foursquare, Tumblr, and yes, even Pinterest. In the dormitory, and even at home, my iPod is always turned on and the apps are always open, Every minute I try to refresh these apps for some notifications. If this is what social media addiction is all about, then I probably need to see a shrink. There is always a lingering question that goes with posting and clicking: How addicted am I to social media? What are its symptoms?
According to Leslie Walker in her article “What is Social Networking Addiction?” as posted in personalweb.about.com,
There’s no official medical recognition of social networking addiction as a disease or disorder. Still, the cluster of behaviors associated with heavy or excessive use of social media has become the subject of much discussion and research.
As the saying goes, “too much of something is bad enough” and basing it on the context of addiction in general, it always results to something negative. So, if you are a social media addict, questions like these may arise: “How many hours do you spend on checking your status or stalking other people’s profiles?”, “How often do you update your Twitter status or post photos on Instagram?”, “Do you still spend time with your family and friends rather than sitting in front of the computer checking your Facebook?”, “Do you always check-in via Foursquare at every place you go to? Even in a bathroom or in a shower?” I mean, you can actually come up with dozens of questions just to determine whether you are a social media addict or not. Why don’t you click this link to find out how internet-obsessed you are? It’s an Internet Addiction Test.
Interestingly, a study conducted by Chicago University Booth Business School found that tweeting or checking emails may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. Also, cravings to use social media give strong urges as longing for sleep and sex does (read the full article on this experiment by clicking here.).
OK, my admission being a social media addict was way too exaggerated. And yes, taking the Internet Addiction Test revealed that I am an average online user (45/100), which means that, I may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but I have control over my usage. Good to know. But still, where does this dilemma come from especially when I get to check notifications more often than I change television channels?
I found the answer through this article tweeted by social media blogger Jason Cruz, titled “How to curb social media stress: stop trying to do too much” (http://leaderswest.com/2013/06/03/how-to-curb-social-media-stress-stop-trying-to-do-too-much/). One statement got my head nodding in agreement.
But the real problem is not so much that you are overwhelmed, but that you are feeling you “aren’t doing enough”. You feel you are behind. You think you should be doing better than you are right now. That you should be doing more.
That’s it. I’m a bit of an egoist and I want people to read my blog. I always think of something interesting to write and despite that, there is this voice that keeps on telling me that I’m not doing good enough. There are two options that I have to choose in order to make my blog exist for a longer time: “publish or perish.” When I first started writing in my blog, I easily got disappointed when my stats falls flat and no one even liked my article. Yeah, it stressed me out, to say the least. Only when I started posting quotes from famous people and books that my blog tried to catch up. It somehow fueled my desire to post even more but balanced it with my own articles. Eventually, I found my own ground. The article tweeted by Jason Cruz just reaffirmed my blogging practice especially when I was just starting.
Go through your existing content and “mine” it for great little “tweetable” or “postable” nuggets. This will generate TONS of content to post on Facebook or Twitter. This means: blog posts, articles, FAQs on your website, books you have written (published or unpublished), journals (Jackie Dumaine did this and I loved it!), poems, etc.!
It takes a long while to find one’s voice especially in blogging. Well, writing in general. Being a literature major helped me a lot in constantly searching for a “bloggable” article. Having lots of options on what to write about, whether it’s a poem, a short story, a literary quote, or an artwork, readers will always find it interesting. Publicity also helps a lot. Posting my blog on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and using the right hashtags increase readership. You will surprise yourself finding out that more than a hundred bloggers have reblogged your post. Endorphin rush it is! A natural addiction.