My name is Jolana, and I’m a social media addict.
I don’t know if there are support groups for this affliction as yet, so I’m going to testify here on my blog.
I have become obsessed with social media. I am hooked on posting, tweeting, liking, commenting, replying, following, sharing, and friending. I wasn’t addicted at first. It happened slowly, insidiously, innocently. I wasn’t even interested in social media in the beginning.
Originally, my sons and daughters-in-law emailed family news and photos of our grandchildren to MG and me. We loved receiving those emails. Then the younger generation became involved with Facebook. The emails with news and photos ceased. We complained. We whined. We grumbled. The kiddies said it was quicker and easier for them to post their news and photos on Facebook than in emails. They said we should join Facebook if we wanted to see everything from them, from our extended family, and from our friends. MG was solidly set against it, but eventually we caved and joined.
Little by little, Facebook sunk its hooks into me. I heard from other writers that editors and agents expect a writer to establish a presence on the Internet. So, I found a fabulous virtual assistant and she created a website and blog for me. The writers also explained that social media is helpful to gain name recognition, and that a writer should create a social media platform even before publication. That too?
If nothing else, I am coachable. So, I created a Facebook author page and author accounts on Twitter and Pinterest in addition to my personal pages. The V.A. waved her magic wand and cast a spell that copied my blog posts to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and copied my author account Facebook posts to Twitter. The next thing I knew, I also had accounts with Goodreads, Tumblr, and Instagram.
I was sinking deeper and deeper into the social media quicksand. I began to spend an inordinate amount of time on my social media accounts. I felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of them. They were a giant time suck. My writing suffered from neglect. I knew I should be writing, but when I turned on my MacBook I couldn’t resist the social media siren call. I posted and tweeted and pinned much more than I wrote.
Two weeks ago, I viewed a TV news segment that dealt with a study of social media addiction and how widespread it is. The percentage of addiction was extremely high. The reporter listed the symptoms, behaviors, and the problems it causes. I had them all. That report could have been written about me.
How had it happened? How had I let it happen? How was I to shake the addiction?
One big obstacle that I see is that I can’t quit social media completely because of the professional accounts I set up and need to maintain. I’m pretty sure I have way too many of them. It takes too much time away from my writing to keep up with them all. I decided to eliminate all but three professional accounts: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m going to drop my personal Pinterest and Twitter accounts and cut way back on my personal Facebook posting. I’ll follow my family and friends and unfollow the pages of news and political organizations that especially tempt me to engage in controversial political debates.
The first step I took to get my social media obsession under control was to remove the social media apps from my iPhone. That iPhone is always with me, and those apps made it far too handy and tempting to post all day long and into the night. It doesn’t help that Facebook keeps encouraging me to post because all my friends want to hear from me. Of course, they do. My posts are utterly fascinating. ?
After deleting the social media apps from my IPhone that first day, I began to feel the symptoms of social media withdrawal. I felt disconnected, out of the loop, in the dark. Someone somewhere was posting something of interest to me or something with which I would disagree, and I was missing out. The knowledge that I was missing out tasked me. I struggled through the day and night, tormented by the lack of a social media fix.
The following morning, I woke and reached for my iPhone. It was my daily habit to check Facebook first thing. What’s this? No social media apps! It was with chagrin that I recalled deleting them. What was I thinking? I was so tempted to restore them. Instead, I pulled up my big girl pants and soldiered through the day without them.That night, I logged into the three professional accounts on my MacBook. I spent a short time on each. I checked in, posted a few things, and replied to a few others. I practically broke out in a cold sweat when I logged out.
So far today, I haven’t checked any of my social media accounts. I revised a chapter in my WIP and wrote this post. I got so involved in writing that I didn’t feel the urge to check social media. I probably will tonight when MG logs onto Facebook on his iPad and starts regaling me with details of what everyone is posting. If any posts have something to do with family, I may check to see for myself.
The ultimate game plan is to tame the social media beast by whatever means necessary, to concentrate on my writing, and to strive toward publication. I hope I have enough will power to keep from backsliding. I have my fingers crossed. I also have MG to nag me if I show signs of weakening.
As you can see, I’m not attempting to quit social media cold turkey. That isn’t entirely possible. I suppose you could describe my limited quitting efforts as lukewarm turkey. Hey, whatever works, right?