The dictionary definition of addicted is ‘devoted or or given up to a practice or habit or to something psychologically or physically habit-forming.’ So I ask the question, are you a social addict?
I put my hand up and admit, “My name is Jennie and I am a social addict”. I don’t mean this in the extreme that I am sitting in a darkened room on Facebook logging every thought and feeling, only moving to eat a tin of beans. I mean social in every respect. I am a people person and I use social media to enhance and build relationships.
If there is a new social media tool being introduced to our lives all the time. I see something new and I instantly think i need to be using it. I guess it is like a pair of shoes, I don’t just need one pair, i need boots, heels, wellies, ugg boots, flats, and all in every colour and style possible! Is it a case of not wanting to be left out when everyone is playing in the playground? Or is it just my passion for social media and a general interest and love of being social?
A while ago I was introduced to Pinterest and guess what, I love it!! In fact I spent all morning playing with it and ‘pinning’ photos I love. But what have I achieved apart from visual stimulation and maybe informing some people about my desire for funky painted nails and a beautiful evening dress (it is so beautiful!) And what about Quora. I have written about this before. When it was launched I thought it was the best thing ever. I have so many questions and now somewhere to ask them. But surely I already have this… Google! And again, the amount of time I lost asking questions, then seeing something someone else had asked and reading about that, I was lost in a never ending spiral into the depths of the social web.
I understand that some people are still overwhelmed by social media, let alone addicted. It can be a very daunting phenomenon. In fact 1 in 4 small businesses hate social media, but love Facebook. But there is more to social media than just Facebook. It is just about finding the ones that you are comfortable with and enjoy using. And of course for businesses, you need to discover where your customers are and go to them. If they mostly use Facebook, then why are you putting all of your time and efforts into Twitter.
All this said, how do you really know if you are getting the balance right between addiction and passion? In my opinion the clue is in the title; SOCIAL media; be social online and offline. I utilise social media to create new contacts, reinforce existing contacts, and through these mediums my relationships extend offline too. I don’t need social media as an addict needs drugs, I want to use it and genuinely believe it enhances my life to a certain degree. So that is my conclusion, the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ is the difference between harmful addiction and passionate addiction.