10 signs you’re a social media addict

If you are a mayor on Foursquare or say things like ‘I have to Instagram that,’ put down the smartphone and read this. It’s time to unplug.

There is a reason people often use the word “pervasive” alongside social media. For many of us, the social channels we use to connect with others for personal or professional reasons are a big part of our day.

But how much is too much? How do we know if we’re taking our enthusiasm for social media too far?

Here’s my slightly exaggerated—but mostly true—list of 10 signs you might have an unhealthy relationship with social media:

1. You receive an audible alert on your phone when anything happens online. When your mobile device chimes, beeps or chirps anytime someone follows, retweets, shares or comments on something, you actively sabotage your ability to concentrate on anything.

2. Your business card says “guru” and you’re not speaking about spirituality in India. I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t write this one because I’m Indian.

3. You use social media terms as verbs. If you’ve ever said “I need to Instagram that” out loud, I’m talking to you. The moment you use social media terms to replace verbs, it’s the beginning of the end.

4. You believe there is nothing wrong with spllng wrds without vwls. Sure, there’s a 140-character limit, but that doesn’t mean we need to commit grammar gaffes or unlearn everything we know about spelling, does it?

5. You answer questions with, “You should read my blog post about that.” That’s like when someone asks you what a word means and you tell him to look it up. Unless you’re a high school English teacher, just answer the question.

6. You’ve checked your Klout score, um, ever. I don’t think I need an explanation for this one.

7. You’re an online “mayor.” We all love recognition, but if you are disciplined enough to check in to a particular location and do everything required to be a mayor on Foursquare, you already know you have a problem.

8. You use the like button to make a statement. You don’t always have to send flowers, but if your friend just had her first baby, the least you can do is take a few seconds to comment and write “congratulations.”

9. You use social media as a justification for being unreasonable. There are people who demand hotel upgrades or discounts because of their blog readership or Klout score. You know who you are.

10. You freaked out while Twitter was down. When Twitter recently went down, how much of an impact did it have on your life?

If you see yourself in any of the signs above, the antidote is pretty simple: switch off.

Turn off your phone and close your laptop. Go outside, talk to your kids, and find a moment to enjoy human interaction—after you tweet this post to your followers, of course.

Rohit Bhargava is the award-winning author of “Personality Not Included” and “Likeonomics,” a member of the Strategy & Planning group at Ogilvy, and adjunct professor of Global Marketing at Georgetown University. He also blogs at Influential Marketing Blog, where a version of this article first appeared.

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