When is too much social media too much?


I’m on Ello and I don’t fucking know why.

I mean, let’s get real. I don’t need one more social media platform to become addicted to. Between writing, researching, aggregating for my own website, linking/commenting/sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and Netflix, I barely have time to have a social life.

I woke up this morning with absolutely nothing planned for tonight (no social gatherings, no events, no commitments) and I sincerely just sighed a huge sigh of relief.

And yet I know that a good chunk of my time this evening will probably be spent perusing Facebook and Twitter, inevitably getting involved in silly debates with people who will be preventing me from making any headway on a book I’m really enjoying at the moment. Because, addiction…

Americans aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange.

I’m sure the stats are similar for Canadians, so I felt ok using the above information to prove my point.

We’re all addicted. We know we’re addicted. Most of us don’t really care that we’re addicted. Some of us do, but clearly not enough to do anything about it.

One of the three books I am currently reading (yes, three… because I’m one of those ADD nut jobs that has the attention span of a kid who overdosed on Snickers bars) is The End of Absence by Michael Harris. It’s a fascinating book about our information-overloaded times.

In the book, Harris makes the very obvious observation that some of us will be the very last people in history to know life before the Internet. We are also the only ones who will ever speak, as it were, both languages.

It’s a simple observation, really… But it elicited the kind of “WHOA!” from me usually seen in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Truth is, we can talk about how much is too much all we want, but we’re powerless in its wake. Even when we don’t want more, we take more when it’s offered. Like the guy who’s already stuffed from a full meal, but can’t resist that additional slice of cherry pie when it comes his way, because it’s SO. DAMN. GOOD.

So, Ello, I have no idea what I’m going to do with you, and honestly, right now you’re like the guy who’s hitting on me and I’ll go grab a drink with you when nothing better is going on, but I could take your company or leave it. You’re sort of mildly intriguing and I’m sort of indifferent at the moment.

But things could change. You might say something that wows me and makes me reconsider. You could very well get me hooked on you.

Or maybe you’ll just make me want to walk away and take a long sabbatical from it all. After all, those three books aren’t going to read themselves, are they?

  • Spyros Gkikas

    cherry pie is delicious even if it makes you fat and clogs your arteries and eventually gives u a zipper running down ur chest…what it doesn’t do is isolate you from the real world, from ur friends, from real life…unfortunately, that is the reality for most people addicted to the social media…on my bike ride today, I almost ran over a 70 yr old/something woman on the street, who veered a hard left right into my path without warning and without looking because she was texting on her phone (and game ME the stink eye when I had to slam on the breaks to avoid her…I scared HER apparently) …we need to stop and smell the roses or the dying rotting leaves as is the case presently, and marvel in the wonder of it all, take the time to enjoy our friends and family who sit w us to share a meal, resisting the urge to escape into a phone to see what else, what more exciting thing might be happening right this minute…because it doesn’t matter. What matters is this moment, right now, and nothing else. We have forgotten how to simply…be…we are too busy trying to do something, anything, that we have forgotten how to… be…recently, I had the opportunity to hold a new born for most of an evening…she cried on me, fell asleep on me, drooled her mothers breast milk all over me in a puddle that made my shirt stink the next morning (much to the parents horror) and I chatted with her parents…nothing too deep just chat and there is nothing on the internet or social media that i will ever trade that evening for

  • http://www.headspacepress.com/ Toula Drimonis

    Sorry, I stopped paying attention after “cherry pie”. Will you make me one, Spyros? 😉
    And yes, I know what you’re saying, and I agree with most of it, although I’m not down with treating social media addicts as disconnected from friends and society.
    They may be multitasking and probably annoying to be around occasionally, but I don’t believe they’re less aware of their surroundings and less appreciative of their friends.