Has social media taken over your life?
Do you live to engage with your social media tribe? If so, you may be suffering from social media burnout.
Social media burnout is when an individual becomes so engrossed in social media engagement that it interferes with his real world and personal and business activities, leaving him emotionally exhausted. Instead of energizing the participant, it drains him.
Before you can do anything to mitigate the negative effects of social media burnout, you must acknowledge that it has become a major driving force in your life. Understand, however, that I'm not advocating 12-step program declarations or abandoning social media cold turkey.
Instead, your goal should be to integrate social media into your life as a positive force. It should support your business and personal objectives while providing you with time to unplug, connect with your family and friends in real life, follow your personal passions, and recharge the old-fashioned way.
Social media burnout checklist
To help you assess whether you're approaching social media burnout, here's a list of seven questions to ask yourself:
1. Do you spend 10 hours or more per day engaged on various social media platforms? Before you rush to say no, consider the amount of time you're doing something else but are just waiting for your next social media update.
2. Are your social media circles the first place you turn to for advice, either personal or professional? Although social media platforms are useful for sourcing information—especially in cases where the wisdom of crowds makes a difference, like ratings and reviews—it can't effectively give you feedback for your special needs.
3. Do you feel closer to your social media tribe than to your real life family and friends? Don't get me wrong—social media platforms are a great way to expand your personal and professional networks. These relationships can bloom into meaningful, real-life connections. #UsGuys is a great example of how social media supports and creates positive real-life relationships. The heart of this question is: Do you know and care more about your social media circles than you do about your real-life family and friends?
4. Do you find that face-to-face meetings and encounters interfere with your social media interactions? Do you spend a good portion of the meeting using your smartphone under the table? Do you miss what other people say in meetings because it's not on one of your screens? Are you impatient for your dinner partner to use the restroom so you can check in on your social media status?
5. Do you find social media cuts into your sleep time? Do your social media conversations continue into the wee hours? Do you need to send one last tweet before you turn in for the night, regardless of how late it is?
6. Do you suffer from physical ailments attributable to computer, tablet or smartphone use? Some of the symptoms are:
- Being out of shape because you're planted behind your computer all day
- Fingers that continually hurt from typing messages into your smartphone
- Skin that is pasty white from your computer's glow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome from overworking your mouse
7. Do you talk and write in Twitter shorthand? Do you shape your thoughts in 140-character strings? Have you forgotten the correct way to spell certain words? Do you add hashtags to your opinions and ideas when speaking to someone?
If one or more of these symptoms rings true for you, there's a chance you have, or are on your way to getting, social media burnout.
To overcome social media burnout, set aside time each day to unplug. Schedule time to engage with family and business partners, even if it's only a phone call. Your aim isn't to give up social media interaction, but to put it into perspective rather than letting it take over your life.
Is there anything that you would add to this list of social media burnout signs?
Heidi Cohen is president of Riverside Marketing Strategies. Follow her on Twitter @heidicohen.