Closing comment – Is social networking the new smoking?


The way to tell you’re addicted to something is to take this gut check: Does the thought of giving up the habit for a week produce anxiety, panic and even a feeling of physical sickness? If the answer’s yes, then you may have a problem.

At least you’re in good company – ours!

Jokes aside, for a lot of us, social media (SM) is now embedded in our workday the same way the phone and email have become. And who doesn’t take work home with them?

The big question is: could SM addiction be bad for our health? Our relationships? Our sanity?

Just as non-smokers have a catalogue of gestures, grimaces and frowns to convey their displeasure at second-hand smoke and stale, smelly cigarette breath, our friends and partners are starting to protest – and they’re getting louder. They may not have given your iPhone a bath or hidden your power cable – yet, but an intervention may be just around the corner.

Don’t wait to be told. Take this quick quiz. If you answer YES to more than five questions, occasionally step back, look at this oh-so-indulgent of habits, and recognise you’ve become too dependent on SM. For more help, we suggest you seek counselling.

Here’s our SM-addiction litmus test:

  1. Do you sneak in Tweets between cuddles?
  2. Do you check Facebook if you get up ‘to go’ in the middle of the night?
  3. Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you haven’t checked your social media for an hour?
  4. Do you struggle to complete non-social tasks within a defined timeframe?
  5. Have you ever had to ban yourself from Facebook?
  6. Do you stress when you’re not retweeted?
  7. Do you ever compare the number of followers you have with your friends’ and colleagues’?
  8. Do you check your Instagram before you have a shower?
  9. Do you have to ask yourself how many times you’ve ‘Liked’ something on Facebook today?
  10. Do you stress when your battery power is running low and you can’t recharge?
  11. Do you take an SM break at work because you think you’re entitled, as you don’t take smoko’s?
  12. Do you take a selfie every day?
  13. Is your phone filled with pictures of last night’s dinner?
  14. Do you refer to your friends by their Twitter handle?
  15. Do you find yourself stopping yourself from saying “I know, I saw it on Facebook” when you catch up with friends?
  16. Do you check-in from airports, stations, cafes… everywhere?
  17. Do you say LOL instead of LOL-ing?
  18. Do you say hashtag [something] in conversations?
  19. Do you have another examples you could add to this list?

Tweet your examples to us! Not only will you be keeping your addiction alive, you’ll help others with their own diagnosis. Because, as we all know, the first step to solving a problem is recognising we have one. And a problem shared is a problem halved. And misery loves company!

Ok, got to run & see who just @mentioned me … my phone beeped!

Until next time, ciao.

Jack and the c word

PS. Thanks to @mirandaschuppan for inspiration!

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