How Do You Know When You’re Overdosing On Social Networks?

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February 21, 2013 By Aaron Couch

Social networks are captivating – there’s no doubt. he !inds behind building the popular social !edia plat"or!s o" today knew e#actly what they were doing and they saw it be"ore any o" us ever did. $t’s a brilliant idea really – create a !ediu! that allows people "ro! all over the world to connect, share and collaborate like they never have been able to be"ore in the history o" the %arth. $ncredible& 'ut an un"oreseen (or potentially "oreseen, but ignored) conse*uence is addiction. Social networks have been so good at +helping, us, but now they’re hindering us. Fro! what you !ight ask- .ell, ask your "riends, "a!ily, parents, even children what they think. /nd although it is o"ten 0oked about, it isn’t a joking matter.

Diagnosing Your Condition
1ust like anything, there are different levels o" social !edia use. So!e things are !ore severe than others. /nd, o" course, so!ething else that plays into it is how frequent these things occur and when they occur. 2sing social !edia isn’t bad – it is an incredible tool, but it can be easily overused. 3ere are so!e things that !ight indicate you are addicted and overusing social !edia. NOTE: .hen reading through these, look at the! collectively instead o" individually. /lso, these are not listed in i!portance – all o" the! are e*ually i!portant.

!m"tom #$: You %o Online &or 'roductive (easons) *ut &ind Yourself On ocial Networks +nstead
So!eti!es this happens intentionally due to te!ptation. 3owever, other ti!es it si!ply occurs out o" habit. 4o you do this- $ do. /ll5 the5 ti!e. $n "act, to address this proble!, $ did a Facebook Fast (which was actually a social !edia "ast, but Facebook Fast is catchier), which !eant $ would re"rain "ro! using all social !edia and ti!e6wasting websites "or 30 days. he "irst day o" !y "ast, $ opened up !y browser to do so!ething productive and use"ul, but immediatel! typed in the address bar without reali7ing it. $ abruptly closed out and re"ocused !ysel", but $ was a!a7ed at how !uch $ really was conditioned to visiting Facebook. his is an e#a!ple o" unintentional use. 'ut other ti!es, long a"ter the "ast and still to this day $ "ind !ysel" intentionally going to Facebook despite the a!ount o" work $ have to do. $ so!eti!es do this while $’! in the !iddle o" so!ething.

!m"tom #,: You -se Your mart"hone &or .ore ocial Things Than mart Things
he s!artphone is incredible, but it also has, without a doubt, increased our social !edia consu!ption. $ didn’t used to have one, as $ talked about in !y article about being portable without a s!artphone, but since then $ have gotten one through 8epublic .ireless and $ !ust say – it’s an aweso!e tool. 'ut they also bring about so!e negatives, such as allowing social !edia to be accessible at any ti!e. /t "irst, $ installed the witter and Facebook apps (and other social

apps) on !y phone, but $’ve re!oved the! "or the reason that $’! already on the! enough as is. 9lus, they’ll still be there later when $ get on !y co!puter. 4o you "ind yoursel" constantly checking your social networks, even while you’re not on your co!puter- 9robably. $’ve noticed 0ust in !y own personal :ews Feed that the activity via the Facebook !obile app has been increasing tre!endously and is probably e*ual to the a!ount o" activity via the Facebook page itsel".

!m"tom #/: 0 Constant Craving To Check Them) Des"ite 1nowing There 0re 2ero Notifications
3ave you ever done this- ;ou scroll through the news "eed, !aybe like, co!!ent on and<or retweet a "ew things, then you close it out. ;ou start doing so!ething, then "ive !inutes later you "ind yoursel" 3ack on again. =ake2se>" writers are in no way e#e!pt "ro! procrastination, and $’ve done this several ti!es while writing up to this point in this article already.

!m"tom #4: You 5ave .ore ervices Connected Together Than You Can Count
>ne o" the bene"its o" having social networking accounts is the bene"it o" easily logging into websites and services, like you do here on =ake2se>". 3owever, this can also be a negative thing i" you begin to trust sketchy websites and applications that shouldn’t be trusted. 4epending on the per!issions, when you log into sites with your social accounts, they !ay be able to access in"or!ation about you that you otherwise wouldn’t want. >" course, this gets back to your privacy settings, but the threat can still be there.

!m"tom #6: You’re On Them &irst Thing Ever! .orning 0nd (ight *efore *ed Ever! Night

:either o" these things are good "or us. $ think we’d all agree that starting your day out right is crucial to, well, having a good day. $t’s so easy though to 0ust lay in bed until noon (on a day that you don’t have to get up) and sur" the $nternet ai!lessly, likely spending the !a0ority o" your ti!e on social networks. $n addition, the sa!e should be avoided be"ore you go to sleep. his doesn’t 0ust include social networks, but technology in general. $t’s been proven that bright screens hinder sleep as your brain is being sti!ulated and tricked into thinking it’s still day – that’s why you don’t nor!ally "eel as tired. /lso, it can easily eat up hours o" needed sleep, causing you to wake up the ne#t !orning in a scra!ble to get to your 0ob, class, etc. because you overslept because you didn’t get to sleep early enough because you were on5 Facebook.

!m"tom #7: You’re .ore ocial Online 85+9E 8ith &riends) Than 8ith The &riends Themselves

.henever you hang out with your "riends or "a!ily, do you o"ten discover that you spend !ore ti!e looking at your phones or laptops than at each other- >r worse, did that 0ust !ake you reali7e that that’s what you’re doing and you’re not even conscious o" it- 3ope"ully the second *uestion didn’t happen to any o" you, but $ bet the "irst has, !ysel" included. $t’s sad isn’t it$n addition, have you ever co!!unicated via a social network with so!eone within seeing and<or hearing distanceSo!eti!es, yes, it’s "unny to do. 'ut it’s beco!ing !ore acceptable than it should be. here’s a reason that we’ve covered the dangers o" s!artphones !ultiple ti!es here at =ake2se>"?
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he S!artphone Syndro!e? /re .e 'eco!ing oo /ddicted o >ur 9hones For >ur >wn @ood- A>pinionB /re ;ou /ddicted o ;our S!artphone-

1ustin, also, recently shared his reasoning behind not owning one and not wanting to – it’s not 0ust about !oney "or hi!.

!m"tom #:: You hare Ever!thing
So!eti!es $ go in spurts where $ 0ust post a lot to !y social accounts one day, but then go days without posting so!ething (or very little). his applies to that as well, but !ore i!portantly, this is re"erring to you sharing every video you watch, every article you read, every photo you see, etc. his can get obno#ious and will de"initely annoy people. Such tools, like the aptly na!ed browser e#tension, Shareaholic, should be used in !oderation or not at all by these types o" people. $nstead, $ reco!!end using 'u""er.

!m"tom #;: You Check<+n To Your 5ouse

$" you do this, right now $’! looking at you with the !ost dull e#pression on !y "ace wondering why. he other day $ !entioned !y annoyance o" this to the barista at a great co""ee shop that $ go to throughout the week and she responded saying she did that. $ gave her that e#pression.

$ honestly don’t get the point. /nd $ don’t know i" you’ve considered this, but i" those check6ins are public, it doesn’t take !uch "or people to "igure out where you live. :ow they have your na!e, photo and address (or at least nearby vicinity)- 4o you want to be robbed-

eeking Out Treatment
:ow on to curing this disease. @ranted, you don’t have to co!pletely *uit (although it !ay help i" you did te!porarily). ;ou 0ust have to develo" the "ro"er disci"line. hat is the key here – all o" these others "ollow in the "ootsteps o" that. So what do you have to doDevelo" the "ro"er disci"line= NOTE: So!e o" these !ay coincidentally !atch up with the sy!pto!s above, but that doesn’t !ean it was intentional. $" $’! re"erring to a speci"ic sy!pto!, $’ll tell you. /gain, like $ said in the "irst +note, at the beginning o" this article, look at this list collectively – they should all (or at least !ost) be done to ensure true curing of social network overdosing.

Treatment #$: (ecognition 0nd Determination

/"ter establishing that you need to be disciplined, you’ve probably already recogni7ed that you have a proble!. 'ut $’! reiterating it anyway. :e#t, co!es deter!ination – how long are you going to last- .ell, hope"ully you create the right habits so that this is per!anent and you don’t "all back into the sa!e ruts and routine. $ know – it’s very easy to do.

Treatment #,: Challenge Yourself 8ith The /><Da! ?&ace3ook &ast@
/gain, this isn’t just Facebook, but all social networks and ti!e6wasting websites that !ake you wonder where your day 0ust went. his !ight be di""icult "or so!e, speci"ically people who have 0obs that rely on social !edia or the $nternet in general. So although this is 3est i" you co!pletely purge all activity, i" you can have the discipline to hold yoursel" to only doing speci"ic things and only spending a certain a!ount o" ti!e on these te!pting, ti!e6sucking sites, you may still be able to pull it o"". 'ut $ warn you, i" you already have this weakness, you’re going to really be put to the test. /gain, like !ost o" these things, $ speak "ro! e#perience, both "ro! the past and current – un"ortunately.

Treatment #/: Do omething 8ith 8hat You 9earned &rom The &ace3ook &ast
he Facebook Fast won’t do you any good, should you si!ply return to your old habits. his is why $ !entioned discipline and deter!ination "irst. $" those are in place 3efore you start your Facebook Fast, or even i" you start the! during the "ast, you will bene"it !uch !ore "ro! this sacri"ice and can go back into social !edia with a whole new outlook.

Treatment #4: The 'hone tack

his idea has been going around the $nternet *uite a bit, so you !ay have already heard o" it. he idea behind this is that while you’re eating with others at the table, you don’t check your phones – at all. $nstead, you stack the! in the !iddle and should so!eone check their phone, they are the one who pays the whole bill. 3ere are the o""icial rules? 1. he ga!e starts a"ter everyone has ordered. 2. %verybody places their phone on the table "ace down. 3. he "irst person to "lip over their phone loses the ga!e. C. he loser o" the ga!e pays "or the bill. D. $" the bill co!es be"ore anyone has "lipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays "or their own !eal. here are variations and additional options "or this as well as so!e replies to so!e co!!on ob0ections.

Treatment #6: The One<5our (ule

$" you have a proble! with checking social networks "irst thing every !orning and last thing every night (Sy!pto! ED), try shutting everything down – yes, your co!puter, phone, everything – a whole hour be"ore you go to bed and not checking the! "or an hour a"ter you wake up. /lright, so perhaps te#ting or a phone call is the e#ception i" it’s a special so!eone or close "riend – $’! partial to that – but other than that, try this and see i" it helps. >bviously you could easily co!bine this one and the Facebook Fast, but then continue this a"ter you’ve co!pleted it.

Treatment #7: *e 0ware A 9imit 0nd Time Yourself
Si!ply being aware o" how !uch ti!e you’re spending on social networks can be a help in itsel", but again, i" you don’t care (aka aren’t deter!ined and disciplined), it won’t !atter. hose are key& >nce you’ve recogni7ed how !uch ti!e you’re spending, e#peri!ent with how !uch ti!e would be reasonable to spend on these sites instead.

here are a lot o" help"ul web apps and browser e#tensions "or ti!ing such as i!er and o!ato i!er, both o" which $ covered in 5 Web-Based Tools For Any Browser That E ery Writer !hould "se. $n addition, another is Snap i!er, !entioned by Fraig in The # Best A$$lications For %ee$ing A Time &imit 'n (oursel). >" course, there are !any !ore than these three, but perhaps these will help you get started. $n addition, the article 5 Tools to Track *ow +uch Time you Waste while 'nline !ight be o" so!e help.

Treatment #:: (evoke ite 'ermissions

$n re"erences to having too !any apps and websites connected to your social network accounts (Sy!pto! EC), revoking site per!issions can be help"ul in helping you 3e aware o" how !uch you’re connecting to. he service =y9er!issions is an e#cellent tool, allowing you to easily access !any o" the social network privacy and security pages. /lso, when co!bined with $F ($" his hen hat), it serves as a re!inder to help you not "orget to go over your social network per!issions each !onth.

Treatment #;: *lock 8e3sites

:eed so!e added !otivation and discipline- here are tools to help prevent access – but these aren’t per"ect and they shouldn’t be because then they’d be too controlling. .e’ve covered !any o" the!, including the well known Fhro!e e#tension, StayFocusd. 'elow are "our articles that !ight be o" so!e help?
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3 .ays o Stop =ultitasking G Stay Focused o 'e =ore %""icient G 9roductive A.indowsB /ddicted o @oogle 9lus- 3ere /re C .ays o 'lock /ddictive .ebsites G @et 'ack o .ork 'lock .ebsites .ithout /ny :etwork %#perience using /ny .eblock 3ow o 'lock .ebsites >n ;our 9F .ithout 2sing So"tware A.indowsB

Treatment #B: &ollow Through

1ust like $ started with +discipline,, $’! ending this with +"ollowing through., $n the end, these are like the bread in a sandwich – they keep everything together. 'y "ollowing through, you ensure that all your e""orts aren’t 0ust "or not, but that you’ll actually i!prove and grow "ro! the!.

:ow that $’ve written this whole article, $ reali7e so!ething – $ should "ollow !y own advice. So you know what- $’! going to. $’! going to practice what $ preach. 3owever, $ "all into the category !entioned earlier about people who use social !edia "or their work – that’s the clincher and is what !akes it so di""icult to separate yoursel". It’s like trying to go on a diet, but working at a cupcake shop, which just so happens to be your favorite food – doesn’t work too well. 'ut that is where discipline, deter!ination and "ollowing through co!e in. .ith those three things, anything can be acco!plished. 4o you "eel you’re overdosing on social networks- 3ave you tried to *uit or li!it yoursel", even "or a short period o" ti!e- 3ow did that work "or you- .e’d love you to share any personal advice and e#periences&
$!age Fredit? >verdose concept via Shutterstock, =an using laptop in bed via Shutterstock, @roup o" young people te#ting on their cell phones via Shutterstock, 3o!e Sweet 3o!e via Shutterstock, Flock via Shutterstock, /ccess 4enied Sta!p via Shutterstock, 4eter!ined 8unner via Shutterstock

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addiction social !edia

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