Are people getting addicted to social networking to the point where it’s ruining their lives?
That was the first question asked of me during my appearance on CNN Headline News last week and my answer is in line with that of any other addiction. Yes! Granted most people instinctively strike a healthy balance between living online and off, but for some the scales tip too much in the wrong direction.
Some signs of social networking addiction include:
- Feeling anxious if you go “too long” without checking your Facebook account or if you aren’t getting in “enough” tweets
- Neglecting real-life activities in favor of spending more time on social networking sites
- Damaging or losing real-life relationships because of all the time you’re spending with your “friends” or “followers” online
We’re also seeing an alarming number of people having secret relationships kept hidden from their significant others, particularly Facebook affairs with old flames. Some lead to offline relationships and the obvious detrimental consequences. Others are kept strictly in the fantasy realm, though with equally destructive potential as people inevitably fail to meet their intimacy needs in this virtual world.
Social networking is also taking celebrity obsession to a new level. Not only can you “follow” your favorite celebrities online but you can directly communicate anything you like to them. And, equally important, when they tweet they are tweeting to YOU!
As someone who enjoys social networking myself it is certainly a medium of communication to be celebrated. Yet just like anything else, social networking is only healthy in moderation. Spend less time online and more time pursuing the real-world experiences that will give you something truly valuable to share with the world.