Are you a social media addict? Five ways to cure your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram habit

My name is Mary, and I am a social media addict. It has been ten seconds since my last tweet, and it will be thirty seconds before I check my Facebook wall again.

Are you a social media addict? Five ways to cure your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram habit

I will probably check it upwards of five times while I write this blog post, then update my status with a link once it’s published, with a self-effacing disclaimer pointing out that I wrote it (‘Isn’t this ironic? PLEASE VALIDATE ME.’)

Each morning before my head leaves the pillow I check Facebook for news and notifications, and search Twitter for some frivolous witty observation by a fellow addict to alleviate my usual pre-caffeine sense of dread and hopelessness.

Throughout the day I will be constantly tempted to check my social media accounts at work, and whether I stay in or go out this evening, I will be regularly checking in and updating my friends and followers as to my activities whether they want to hear it or (most likely) not. I have begun to write purely in 140 character pithy expletive-laden sentences, making my full-time copywriting job difficult. I’m hooked and I need help.

The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone on December 20, 2012 in Paris. Instagram backed down on December 18, 2012 from a planned policy change that appeared to clear the way for the mobile photo sharing service to sell pictures without compensation, after users cried foul. Changes to the Instagram privacy policy and terms of service set to take effect January 16 had included wording that appeared to allow people’s pictures to be used by advertisers at Instagram or Facebook worldwide, royalty-free.
Does this sound like you? Has the little red notification icon become your Gatsby-an green light at the end of the dock? It may be that, like me, you’re hungry for news, to keep track of what your friends are up to, to feel involved in the flow of life. If so, know that Facebook isn’t life: It’s where people pause from life to annoy all their friends by clogging up the newsfeed reminding them what a GREAT TIME they’re having. Here are five ways to cure your social media whore-dom.

Are you a social media addict? Five ways to cure your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram habit

1. Admit you have a problem. Everyone else knows it anyway – you gave it away by liking all their statuses three nano-seconds after posting, then telling everyone what you had for breakfast (‘Rice Crispies again!!! Mental, LOL.’)

Write a short post explaining you’re addicted – No ‘Lulz’, just a statement of fact – and apologise for any newsfeed whoring you’re guilty of. That’s more than once a day, FYI.

2. Make a checklist of annoying Facebook activities and see how many you’re guilty of. There are social media accounts set up purely to mock annoying Facebookers – see Social Needier and Facebook Meltdown. Feel the shame. Absorb it.

3. Go cold turkey, a la Trainspotting. You may begin to hallucinate sarcastic Wonka memes and event invites. You needn’t delete your accounts – have a friend change your passwords, or use a tool like Facebook Limiter to block yourself for a given amount of time.

4. Each time you’re tempted to share your inspiring thought of the moment, write it down with pen and paper (assuming these non-digital items still exist) instead of firing it off into cyberspace like a vacuous bullet of would-be wisdom.

It will seem a lot less groundbreaking on paper, and you can save it up for something to talk about with real people in real life (eek). Also make a note of every time you feel a yearning to check your social media accounts. God-willing, you’ll start to see a decrease the longer you stay in the real world.

5. Leave the house. Take a train somewhere without telling Twitter about the man picking his nose opposite, eat a sandwich without instagramming it, see a friend without telling them and the rest of the world that you’re there, with them, at that very moment, having an AMAZING TIME, YEAH?

Go to the pub and actually talk to your friends instead of staring at the screen of your device for two hours. Failing that, leave the country. I’m going round Europe for three weeks, without internet. It might kill me, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be uploading a million Facebook photos of me looking exactly the same with different stuff in the background in five different countries, because look how much fun I had, yeah?

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