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Smothered By Social Media — A Digital Lament


Do you feel like a Facebook freak? A Pinterest pariah? A Twitter tool? You’re not alone. Many social-media users are finding their online habits have a digital-drug-like effect on their lives.

While some quit cold-turkey, like Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing strategy at Limelight Networks, others slowly wean themselves off the seductive software. In both cases, users have had enough of the constant posts, shares and viral videos and are simply burned out.

“Over the past year, I had become increasingly fixated on my digital life,” writes Thibeault in an article titled “Why I Just Quit Facebook.” “As a writer, speaker, and marketer, I knew that digital played an important role in my livelihood and career. But it got to the point where the digital updates that were furiously filling my news feeds were becoming an addiction.”

Social Media

He describes Facebook as a computerized water cooler distracting him from his job. When he decided to liberate himself, he logged out and never looked back.

“It’s afforded me a fresh perspective to look at how entangled with digital my life has become and how that entanglement can have physical impact on body and self,” Thibeault writes.

Now that he’s come clean, he has these tips for users who want to do the same.

Set boundaries. Do you check Facebook all day, every day? Morning, noon and night? Come up with a limit, and stick to it.

Vet friends. Do you really have 1,648 “friends” in your life? Probably not. The less your network size, the fewer posts your newsfeed will have. Consider unfriending people you don’t know and never have met.

Uncheck the box that prompts you to stay logged in. Also uncheck the box that asks whether you want the computer to remember your username and password. By doing so, logging on will require more work and might deter you from doing so.

For those who are unsure whether or not they are experiencing social-media burnout, here is a list of classic symptoms:

  • Apathy when someone posts an emotional or tragic incident.
  • Frustration at feeling like social media is a chore.
  • Irritation after you log on.
  • A sense of being overwhelmed by the number of links, tweets and updates on your page.
  • A feeling of exhaustion from thinking about an idea for your next post.

“If you are experiencing any, most, or all of these symptoms…you are normal,” Jay Izso, author, consultant and self-professed “social mediologist writes on LinkedIn. “I believe it is a natural progression of moving from social media infatuation to social media purpose.”

One of Izso’s suggestions as to how quell the last symptom is to consider quality versus quantity. You don’t have to update your status or compose a tweet just for the sake of doing so. Make it count.

“Value can be created by rarity,” he writes.

To combat social-media burnout, go out and have face-to-face conversations with people or pick up the phone and have voice-on-voice conversations. Try taking a walk outside to clear your head and get away from the computer.

Social media should be enjoyable and entertaining. If it’s not, take a break from it.

Offers Izso: “We will see you when you get back!”

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