Social networking can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s an easy way to maintain contacts even when you don’t see or hear from them for years, and a great way to promote yourself or projects you’re working on, but it can also slowly sap up all of your time spent online. If you’re not sure where you stand, consider some of these telltale signs you’re addicted to social networking.
1. You compulsively refresh your social network of choice’s homepage or load it every time you open a new browser window.
If you’re constantly looking to see who’s online, or what people are talking about, and I do mean constantly – like ever three to five minutes – you are probably addicted to social networking. Few things move quite that fast, and even if they do, they aren’t worth obsessive over all the time.
2. People tell you you’re on social networking chat services too often.
If anyone has ever asked you “What do you do on Facebook all day?” because you’re listed as online for hours on end, you can probably consider this a warning sign. Facebook’s in particular is problematic because to be signed into Facebook chat is to appear to be “on Facebook” for hours on end, which tends to worry people and is widely frowned upon (even if it is widely practiced).
3. You take a few seconds to turn everything into a status update.
If you check in from everywhere – houses, bike trails, stores – and spend a fair amount of time filling feeds with anything and everything on your mind, there’s a decent chance you’re hooked. It’s easy to alienate potential readers and friends through overexposure, and this is a surefire way to do it.
4. You use, but don’t spend any time reading about, social networking services.
There’s a fair amount of decent writing being done about the way social networking is changing human interaction and how we use technology and the internet. If you’re not reading it, but spending hours on networks, there’s a good chance that your inability to dissect what’s happening on a broader scale is a consequence of addiction. You also likely don’t know where your information is going or what it’s being used for.
5. You spend hours trying to find celebrities’ private profiles (and then trying to befriend them).
Lots of famous people have Facebook accounts. Most of them are set to be unsearchable and largely inaccessible to anything but their group of actual friends. However, a few people friend everyone, and if you’re feeling especially creepy, you can use these to find their famous friends (who probably won’t want to be your friend if they don’t want to be found in the first place).
6. You’ve been suckered into using those spam applications that hypothetically tell you who looks at your profiles.
There are a handful of applications that do nothing but produce spam and perhaps steal your password (or try to) that offer you services such as a list of who looks at your profile or the ability to look at other users’ profiles without actually being friends with them, great for the overly anxious or the insecure. If you’ve deliberately used one, there’s a decent chance that something’s up, though mostly it’s just advertised these services to all of your friends about ten times.
7. You spend hours a day playing Facebook games.
There are a lot of games on Facebook. Apparently a lot of them are really quite addictive, like FarmVille. If it or something like it is keeping you on a social networking service all day, this is probably indicative of addiction.
8. You can’t get anything done because you’re too busy checking or responding to notifications from social networking services.
This can happen, even if it seems completely absurd. It’s possible to lose hours in a week, if not more, to useless refreshing.
In short, don’t stop using social networking services completely. Just be sure you know what you’re trying to get from them and budget your time carefully, and you can make great use of them.
This guest post was written by Gerald Arnolds who also writes for criminal justice on the topic of bachelors degrees in criminal jusice