Social media addiction is an official condition. In London alone clinics reportedly treat hundreds of patients a year suffering from various forms of social media addiction. It is expected that in the forthcoming years social media addiction will become a pandemic. These addicts include Facebook fiends, Twitter takers, prodigious Pinteresters’, Google+ guzzlers and LinkedIn lavishers. Social media addicts are notorious mixers, rarely satisfied with merely one product, they frequently combine the aforementioned and other products in conjunction, in hazardous cocktails similar to ‘speedballs’.
(courtesy of SocialMediaGroup.com)
Researchers have found that social media features such as Likes and RTs’ result in the release of the potentially addictive brain chemical, the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the same manner as hard drugs. This is certainly one explanation for why I’ve been feeling so high this last week, having got over a hundred new Likes for my Facebook Fan page, Charles Middleworth. I can only hope this won’t be followed by a come down.
We’ve probably all heard of social media addiction by now and if you haven’t I can guarantee you will be hearing lots about it over the forthcoming years. Personally I hadn’t given it much thought until by chance I found myself in a discussion with an individual, who informed me that he had been diagnosed as a social media addict. Keen to find out more about this affliction, I immediately began to quiz him about it. The following is an extract from the conversation:
Me: What forms of social media were you addicted to?
Addict: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+, with occasional LinkedIn benders.
Me: What’s the most addictive form of social media.
Addict: Facebook has the worst withdrawal.
Me: Your saying Facebook is the heroin of social media. How is it so dangerous?
Addict: Excessive Facebook is to the detriment of real meaningful relationships and connections.
(The addict seemingly does not find my witty Facebook joke amusing).
Me: How are you recovering?
Addict: Abstinence is the key.
(Did I mention we are having this conversation on a social media platform).
The addict is getting restless now, his words are harried and there’s an absence of punctuation. He’s soon making excuses about having to go. But I want to find out more about his addiction and I know enough about addiction to know how to keep him there. I’m telling him I’ll Like his Facebook page and RT his Tweets. This promise of a dopamine fix has him communicating enthusiastically again. In no time at all he’s telling me all about the dangers of Pinterest.
(Pinterest for those that don’t know is a social media platform for sharing pictures).
‘Don’t be so melodramatic’, says I, ‘you make sharing pictures sound as dangerous as sharing needles.’
The addict is soon restless again and having made an excuse about having to check Google+, he’s off, but not before securing the promise from me of a ‘speedball’, consisting of a couple of Facebook Likes in conjunction with a Twitter RT.
(courtesy of VisibleBanking.com)
After the conversation I did some research about social media addiction and discovered that to qualify as a social media addict you have to use the medium for more than five hours per day, which brings tangible relief for me as well as a release of dopamine. However it’s bad news for all those social media professionals out there.
Do you think you might be a social media addict? Take the blueglass.com quiz and find out for yourself.
To be continued next week.