12 obvious signs you’re addicted to social media

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Take this quiz to determine the severity of your addiction, and how to recover.


Social Media is everywhere; it’s integrated into every platform and, let’s face it, it’s here to stay.

Nearly 20 years ago, the BlackBerry came to market, and it revolutionized the way we read and send email. It was infamously renamed the “CrackBerry” because people became addicted to email in the palm of their hand. It lead to a plethora of other smart devices and, ultimately, was the catalyst for the development of the Droid and Apple platforms that now dominate the smart-device market.

Today, we are connected 24/7 through every platform, on demand, almost anywhere we go. We really can’t avoid the trap of using and consuming socially driven content.

However, like everything in life, there must be limits. The enjoyment of using these platforms can evolve into an unhealthy obsession that may not only be problematic for you but for those closest to you in real life. The signs of addiction are everywhere, and if you care about your friends and loved ones, you will read the list below and help them (or yourself) find a healthy social media/life balance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the (farcical and completely made-up) list of the 12 most-obvious signs that you are addicted to social media. As you go through the list, keep track of your answers and score yourself.

• For each “yes” that you answered, give yourself three points.
• For each “maybe,” give yourself two points.
• For each “no,” give yourself zero points.

1. You read, comment, and promote someone’s blog about nothing.

Folks, this really happened. Ask our friend Gini Dietrich about it. A blog about nothing became widely read, promoted, and commented on. There is no doubt her friendly ways and generally fabulous content contributed to it, but—a blog about nothing?! With so much insightful content, shouldn’t we spend our time on the Internet reading a blog about “something”?

2. Hashtags in your email.

It starts in emails, texts, and other non-social platforms, and then you start speaking with @. It’s a slippery slope, but trust me, you didn’t meet @thedomesticexec, you met and chatted with a person—and that person is named Michelle Kay.

3. Check in on Foursquare—everywhere you go!

Are you the mayor of your house, your convenience store, the local bakery, the Starbucks around the corner, the Shell station down the street, and the corner watering hole? Get. Help.

4. Following or listing your pet.

This sign probably relates to the same people who believe their animals can speak. Folks, your animal should not have a social media account on Twitter or Facebook, and definitely not on LinkedIn. If they could speak, they would tell you, “You are crazy.”

5. It’s “first” in the morning.

If you check your mentions, messages, retweets, live stream, or any other page associated with any of your social media accounts prior to brushing your teeth or using the washroom, you are definitely addicted. If you check any of those things immediately after brushing your teeth, you are on the “High Risk” list. Try eating breakfast first, moving the blood to your “brain” may prove helpful in the actions that follow.

6. You update your status while out with “real people.”

Are you updating your status while on a dinner date with your spouse or significant other? You’re obsessed. Do you tweet or post on Facebook #justmet or other @hashable content before you finish the meeting? One word: nutso.

7. You share everything.

This one may be the worst, and it probably deserves its own 12 most list. If you feel the need to share your every thought and wish, and lose all inhibition on your Facebook page, please stop. You, singlehandedly, are the reason for my disdain of the platform. There is such a thing as too much information, and it’s rife on social media. Friends of mine that do this, consider yourselves warned. Next step: I block you and change my phone number.

8. Your Empire Avenue portfolio becomes more important than your actual one.

Please, please, please tell me you check the value of your actual stock portfolio before you check that of your Empire Avenue portfolio? Being rich on EAV yet being without work in real life is a real problem.

9. Involve yourself in social media activities that don’t involve you.

Do you become active in chats, causes, and events that you don’t actually contribute, donate to, or attend? If you do, you are a “social crackhead.”

10. Dreaming in 140.

Do you tweet in your dreams? If it happens once, it may be just a coincidence. If this is a daily/nightly occurrence, you need to see a specialist.

11. “Liking” your own content.

Not only is this a sign that you are an addict, it is also a sign that you are a total narcissist. If you would publicly walk down the street and scream, “I am awesome, smart, good looking, funny, etc…” then you get a hall pass on this. In that case you are not addicted to social media, you are just in love with yourself.

12. Klout becomes your social currency.

I would rather have a few close friends and a job than a high Klout score. So far, I’ve met exactly 11 other people in social media who share that sentiment.

How’d you do?

If you scored between zero and six, you are either a non-addict, or perhaps a power user who has become caught up in a few addict-like tendencies.

If you scored between seven and 17, you are on the verge of a serious problem.

If you scored between 18 and 26, you need to enter a program that removes you from your electronic devices for at least a week.

Daniel Newman is the CEO of United Visual Inc. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm. The family of companies is focused in Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Newman is also an adjunct professor of management at North Central College. A Chicago native and lifelong resident, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist.

A version of this story first appeared on the blog The 12 Most … .

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