March 9, 2018 | Adam Hunter
Like most of today’s new age ‘content champions’, I spend a fair amount of time on social media, from my own personal accounts, to several clients across different platforms. Fair enough, we give thanks to the Hootsuites of today’s world, making our lives less stressful, but the need persists to cross-check, engage and respond to social media posts. For me, this can take place first thing in the morning - as I reach for the snooze button and have barely opened my eyes, to a quick walk from my desk to the coffee station, to loo breaks and waiting in-line at the grocery store.
Over the years, my loved ones have commented about my obsession with social media and how I am constantly glued to my phone. My response is a simple shrug and a laugh in defence that it’s an important part of my job.
But on second thoughts - where does one draw the line? It's hard to tell when ‘liking’ an activity becomes an addiction and shifts into a destructive routine. Does spending two hours a day on Pinterest reading random How-To articles mean you're hooked? How about four hours? One could argue you were just trying to stay current in your field for work, right?
Ironically, while scanning Facebook a few days ago, popular American entrepreneur, author, and product spokesman David "Avocado" Wolfe posted an interesting GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) titled, ‘Seven Signs Social Media is Taking Over Your Life’. For those of you that have never heard of David Wolfe, he is a social media influencer that promotes raw foodism, alternative medicine and many pseudoscientific ideas to more than 11 million Facebook followers.
Wolfe’s one-minute clip cleverly illustrates the prevalence of social media addiction with studies that confirm 54% of social media users feel some level of addiction to their social network of choice, while 46% of users visit social media several times or more, per day. He also provides seven signs social media addiction is taking over your life, these include:
Debatable, especially for us media and marketing folk, Wolfe has some noteworthy points to consider. According to PR Daily, the average internet user spends 118 minutes on social media per day, that’s almost 14 hours a week. Tech may, or may not be, ruining our lives but it is safe to say its running them, and maybe now is a good time to take a step back.
As necessary as social media is to our industry, PR Daily provides four ways to disconnect - to reconnect - through the following digital detox steps:
After sparking my interest in this subject and trawling the net, it seems that there’s no official medical recognition of social networking addiction as a disease or disorder, but behaviours associated with extreme use of social media have become the subject of discussion and research.
What I would like to see is how our interactions with our phones and social media change over time—maybe the pendulum will swing back the other way as they become less novel. But sadly, for our young Millennials and Generation Z’s out there who have grown-up with both, it’s not a novelty, it’s a way of life.