* Revised from a piece I wrote for elephantjournal.com. Photo by Edgar Montano. That is not me in the photo.
Beating addiction ain’t easy.
I would have shared this with you sooner, but I got a bit distracted by twitter and a few facebook updates from “friends” I don’t really know-know. Plus, I’m trying to win a Shorty Award which means I have to tell people via twitter, facebook and any other social network I’m part in. Pinterest, Empire Avenue, mygreenface.com just to name a few. How else would I get more nominations?
There are so many amazing people who have interesting, meaningful, radical, inspirational and/or humorous things to say. And a few weirdos and psychos to make it even more fascinating. From all over the world! Who could resist (besides my husband, who glazes over when I talk social media much the same way as I do when he drones on about history or sports)? Twitter is my favorite. I love facebook, too, but it’s not as fast-paced and doesn’t provide the same buzz. It’s more like sipping a cozmo. Twitter is like a venti double shot skim café latte. Make that a triple.
Help me! I can’t get off!!! Do you know any good social media therapists? Even a not-so-good one would be better than nothing.
What the hell is f@$#-ing wrong with me?
The good news: I recognize that I have a problem.
So I’m addicted. But there’s an upside: a sizeable portion of my social media time is spent raising awareness about environmental and social justice issues. I’m even in 5th place for a Shorty Award in the #green category! (Click here to nominate me).
The less-than-sizeable portion of my social media time is another story. Ugh. Thank goodness my family is here for mini interventions. My son has been known to drag me by hand away from the computer. “No more computer today, mom!” Once he’s big enough to carry me, who knows what he’ll resort to.
Instead of tweeting, I should be spending more time with him before he goes away to college, playing piano (I used to be very good back in the day), writing, gardening… living. But how do I find that balance? Can I wean myself down to a point that I can proudly announce, “I social-media-cize (trademark!) in moderation”?
When I knew I needed help.
If you’re into social media, you know what I’m talking about. Once you enter twitterland or facebook, it’s damn near impossible to leave. Kudos to companies and personalities who have found the right ghost tweeters/facebook updaters. Celebs would have no time to do what they do if they were on twitter and facebook as much as they seem to be, right? (Correct me if I’m wrong, Ashton Kutcher). I bow down those disciplined folks who enter the virtual worlds only on occasion. Once or twice a day, at most. Why can’t I do that?
Bottom line, I love to write. I blog. Then I tweet about the blog entry, post it on facebook in hopes of drawing in readers and inspiring them to take action or change their habits. Occasionally I’ll tweet a special sale on my myEARTH360 account, but mostly those tweets are reserved for environmental issues and ways to lead an earth-friendlier life. My personal tweets are for anything and everything. Random, meaningful, funny, whatever and etcetera.
When did I start getting sucked into facebook and twitter beyond the original reason I joined in the first place (my business)? When did I start having to tell myself, Okay. No twitter for you today or… Just this one facebook post? I don’t know! just found myself trying to control the habit as if I’d had it my whole life.
Writing about my addiction forces me to explore my feelings and motivations; quite possibly, it’ll make me more mindful and, hopefully, help me shake the habit.
It’s hard to leave my post at the computer. It’s inconviently located in my office right on top of my desk where I write and work on business strategy and grocery lists. I have to peek at that damn Apple (damn you, Steve Jobs) once in a while to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the world or check email. Before you know it, I’m on hootsuite where I manage my twitter accounts.
There I go defending my socialmedia-aholism. Making excuses. I even stooped so low as to blame the late, great Steve Jobs! It’s worse than I thought!
Bottom line: I don’t know when I knew I needed help.
I need social media.
The world needs me to use it. It’s my jolt of coffee in the morning with people around the world telling me how great I am. “You rock!” “You’re awesome!” “Sending Follow Friday love”. It’s a daily dose of affirmation that I can’t give to myself. Sure, I get it from the outside world, too, but it’s not like what you get from social media, which is like an IV line of positive reinforcement (with the occasional tweeter calling me a Nazi or socialist or whatever). And there were the obvious rewards of raising our son, who I think is just awesome (could a tweet-aholic be a spectacular mom, too?). Those rewards continue, of course, but he’s in school all day. I need to make myself useful.
The fact I said “I need social media” is a huge warning flag. And saying “The world needs me to use it.” is slightly delusional, don’t you think?
How do I begin to stop? My goal is to hop onto facebook and twitter on occasion. However, I’ve been reluctant to define “on occasion” because that means I’d have to stick to it. I’m so disciplined in so many things. I exercise, eat healthy, drink water, take fish oil, make sure my kid doesn’t eat too much crap and gets his fruits and veggies and whole grains. I can say no to another alcoholic beverage if we’re at a party, even if someone begs me (is it me, or does peer pressure never end?). Too bad social-mediaciz-ing isn’t truly a form of exercise. That would make it so much easier to justify.
The internet is phenomenal.
And the social networks have made so many things possible. Arab Spring anyone? And what about all of the occupy movements?
Without social media, I would not be in contact with people across the country much less around the planet. You probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. Important issues would get lost in the army of profit-driven media sound bites. Instead, we, the people, have become the media—instantly and simultaneously supporting multiple causes and movements, spreading the word with a few strokes on the keyboard. Or finding out what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast. Our voices have more of a chance of being heard by those in power, far and wide. We can force companies to change. There are no bounds. It’s incredible and I sure hope the powers that be don’t start regulating us. SOPA would ruin everything.
That said, I’m going to do a couple tweets. One facebook post. I hear the birds singing (tweet tweet?), beckoning me outside for a run.
Moderation is key.
I need to accept the fact that I will binge now and then as hard as I may try. It would be more worrisome if I was tweeting my every move—I am now going to brush my teeth… clipped my nails this morning … today I’m really gassy (sexy, right?) … great the cat just coughed up a hair ball… off to grab a glass of water—should I add a squeeze of lemon? Instead, I’m trying to catalyze change, inspire others to be conscious of their impact on people and planet and find out why many don’t seem to care about the ripple effects of their choices—even the most simple choice, like whether to grab bottled water or take the 2 minutes to fill-up a reusable bottle.
I will not give up twitter or facebook cold turkey. Nuh-uh. But I will live more consciously and keep my socialmediacizing (trademark!) in check. I think.
I’m going to work through this day smarter, socialmediacizing with precision so that I have time and creative energy to do what I love to do. Write.
PS. Please remember to nominate me for a Shorty Award!
Lynn (the founder of this blog) lives in Chicagoland with her son, husband and two cats. She loves sunrises, running, yoga, chocolate, NYR, reading and writing, Her very survival depends on comedy. In her spare time, she avoids household duties (especially folding laundry) and tries to write. Some call her a treehugger, others say she's a social media addict. You'll most likely find her on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr, @myEARTH360 and @IC4ME) and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking.
keep up with “it”
- My High Anxiety: Learning to Walk Downstream.
- 10 Ways to Pull Up Your Winter Boot Straps & Overcome the Winter Blues.
- How I Crushed My Addiction to Candy Crush.
- Running from Crazy: Mariel Hemingway (and me).
- 8 Lesser-Known, Fun Facts About Me.
- Just Call Me “Bitch On Wheels.”
- 7 Quotes on Fear & Flying
- My Slow Goodbye to the Farm.
- 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in the Last (Almost) 50 Years.
- Having the Courage to Start.