Uncross your legs and take your left hand away from your face. Sit up straight and read very carefully. This is for your own good.
Admit it. You have all been guilty of spending way too much time in the online world when you could be doing far more valuable things in the offline world.
In this day and age, it is completely natural for us to have this very compulsion for keeping ourselves up to date with the latest trends and news concerning our world today. Our burning curiosity has thus caused us to check up on our news feeds more often than necessary. What with our constant need to keep our finger on the pulse with what’s happening in and around our local and global networks, the real-time updates from our favourite social networking sites aren’t much help.
Here are some common scenarios (and you know it): Keeping your eyes glued to the screen while anxiously waiting for that red notification pop-up to appear at the top left of your Facebook page, laughing a tad too loudly to yourself as you watch silly FailBlog videos in your spare time, browsing through countless pages of funny pictures of cats on lolcats, creeping the profile of that ‘friend of a friend’ whom you probably will never ever meet in person, ever… and before you know it, the “5-minute-long break” you meant to take while studying for tomorrow morning’s exam turned into a 5-hour-long useless information overload.
As important as it is to uphold your online reputation (because retweets, upvotes and likes are so very rewarding), it is also important to maintain that balance between online and offline activity. Take a break once in a while. Get some fresh air. Get up and stretch. Don’t forget to eat. And pee. And shower, for that matter. Give your eyes some rest.
Feel like connecting with a close friend? Pick up the phone, why don’t you? No, not to communicate with them via iMessage or BBM – but rather, by actually talking to them aloud. Just try not to let an ‘LOL’ slip out – that’s just embarrassing. Or better yet, plan to meet up with them in person! I feel like our heavy reliance on new and social media can sometimes attribute to the deterioration of our ability to construct grammatically correct and congruent phrases due to our dependence on spell check, for instance. (Thanks a lot, Auto Correct) It also makes it harder for us to control our facial expressions and think of appropriate live reactions during in-person conversations since we’re so used to finding the right graphic, meme, emoticon or GIF to get our message across on the web. This is known to be an especially prevalent phenomenon within the blogosphere. Tumblr users, you know what I’m talking about.
Think of it this way: the more frequently you update your online networks, the more predictable you’ll become. There’s no fun in that. Here’s an idea: Tease your audience a little. Update sparingly (or at least not as often) so they look forward to your next one instead of becoming overwhelmed with your routine incessant updates. This way you won’t force them to temporarily mute you as a user or unsubscribe due to your “Diarrhea of the Mouse“. Keep your friends and followers begging for more.
Not sure if you’re in need of some social media detox? If any of the 10 symptoms featured in the below infographic apply to you, there’s a good indication.
Infographic by: Column Five Media
Find yourself to be suffering from this social media addiction? I can’t blame you! Just know that you’re not alone. And that there are better things out there waiting for you. By out there, I mean beyond the four walls of the office or bedroom you are probably sitting in whilst hunched over your computer device at this very moment.
Consider yourself a social media addict who manages to stay online just the right amount without compromising your social – and I don’t mean your online social – life? You’ve got to tell me how you do it.
To all my fellow tweetaholics and Facebook addicts alike: I’m right there with you. Join me in reducing my social media daily (or hourly) dosage – one Sign Out at a time.
Know anyone who has endured a period of social media detox and came out alive? Success stories or testimonials are welcome!