Social Media Addicted? – The Text You Take is the Life You Make

Social networks were once an extension of our everyday lives, something we used when we were bored and had some free time in our hands. Over time, socializing over the internet has taken over our lives, to the point where many people are now suffering from social network addiction and shunning real life relationships in favor of virtual ones.

A number of studies are now showing that our love for virtual socializing has become an addiction for many. Gadget-advice site Retrevo conducted a study in 2010 and found that 42 percent of people open their Facebook or check their Twitter account as soon as they wake up – sometimes before they even get out of bed. Probably more telling is the fact that 24 percent of people text message while in the bathroom and 32 percent would interrupt their restaurant meal just to answer a message. Begin by look at your own uses and think about how annoying it can be to others when you interrupt a conversation for a text message.  One of the best movie lines is from “The Devil Wears Prada” where her boyfriend says to Emily, “the person who’s call you take is the relationship you are in” when Emily takes a call from Miranda while in a conversation with him.  Also, if you’re text message is more important than the person you are with then they run your life because you don’t.

That need for virtual interaction has moved beyond social networking places. Social shopping is a new form of e-commerce that allows you to interact with virtual friends during the actual shopping experience.
Social shopping marketplaces such as Groupon act like a bazar of sorts, where you can get in touch with others who are buying or selling their wares, while shopping communities such as Kaboodle allow you to discuss products with fellow shoppers or ask for advice on an item you’re considering.

Social shopping apps such as Pose and Fashism are blurring the lines between social shopping and social networks. Pose allows you to take photos of your shopping experience (or the items you take home) and immediately upload them online, so you can get feedback from the virtual community.  Fashism is a similar app, although Pose has a “friends-only” setting option, while Fashism allows everybody in the network to see your posts. Part of the attraction of these sites relies on the fact that they allow you to “take a friend along” when you go shopping, even if it’s not a real one.

Experts believe people with low self-esteem problems or suffering from depression are more likely to become virtual addicts. Virtual lives don’t present the same level of challenge and risk than real-world connections, which is why many people decide to rely on them to find friendship and “conversation.”

Could you be a social media addict? Experts recommend looking out for these clues:

  • You spend more time online than interacting with real people
  • You cancel plans with your real-life friends in order to follow a Twitter chat or series of updates
  • You feel panicky if you’re on vacation somewhere and you can’t access your Facebook account regularly
  • How important is it to check for updates? In the Retrevo study, 19 percent of people admitted to checking their Twitter account in the middle of the night if they happened to wake up to use the bathroom, and 40 percent admitted to doing it while driving. If this sounds like something you would do, you might have an addiction problem.

As long as you use it in moderation and not as a replacement for real-life interaction and relationships, social media can improve and enrich your life. It’s only when it becomes an excuse to hide from the world that you should start to worry.



Time For iPhone/iPad Addiction Intervention? – 10 Ways to Tell You’re an IPhone Addict

On ChicsTech, we’ve featured a variety of accessories for tech-conscious, chic ladies. Like this post on great workout wear and this post on iPhone and iPad accessories. But while you’re accessorizing your iPhone/Pad, did you ever think you might be a little too into it? Is it an accessory or has it gone way beyond? Find out if you’re an iPhone addict by reading through this list.

1.  Your iPhone/Pad to the bedroom-bathroom everywhere 24×7 and you wakeup in the morning with a iPhone crease across your face. Ok, you can take your iPhone/Pad to bed with you but don’t expect your bedmate to love you more for it.  Indeed, they may find it a bit too much you are texting during intimacy.  As far as the bathroom is concerned, this isn’t really sanitary and not cool. When you’re out to dinner, the only reason you might need your phone is to fake a “getaway” call on a bad date. Don’t trek your iPhone to the bathroom with you because we all know someone who has had to save their phone from a watery grave after dropping it in the toilet.
2. You have named your iPhone. Yeah, really. People do this. If you no longer call your phone a phone, it’s time to call a spade a spade and admit your addiction. Names like “The Digitizer” and “Frank” go way into the weird category.
3. Your iPhone is accessorized. If you’ve ever set your phone on the table instead of your clutch, you might have a problem. If you’re so proud of the way you’ve matched the perfect case to your white phone or have gone all matte black on your black iPhone, you might have an addiction. Put it back in your purse.
4. You’ll immediately walk out of a wireless store if they don’t have Apple. Clearly, they aren’t cool enough for you. Wireless carriers are nearly required by techie law now to carry the iPhones but you’re the first to point it out to them if they need to carry the phones…or at least more iPhone accessories.
5. You have iPhone chargers in every room and everywhere else. Car charger, bedroom charger, desk charger, home desk charger, living room charger, kitchen charger etc., etc. If you have a mini freak out every time your phone buzzes 20% (“Oh no! It might shut off!”), then you need to admit the addiction.
6. If something doesn’t sync with Apple, it sure won’t sync with you. Yes, there’s something to be said for the ease of an all-in-one piece of technology, but just because your Word document won’t open on your iPhone doesn’t mean you need to ban Word from existence.
7. You still have the standard ringtone and you never have it on vibrate. Brag much? This is a surefire sign you want others to know just what kind of phone you have. Chill out.
8. You gave up your camera so you could whip out your phone for pictures. It’s totally true and legitimate that iPhones take great pictures and some phone pictures even rival those of cameras. But if you got rid of your nice camera just to use your iPhone more often, you might have the Apple Addiction. (*this does not apply to Twitter users who have many good reasons for taking photos with their iPhone!)
9. You love signing e-mails “Sent From My iPhone.” Did you know that some people have deliberately deleted this phrase so people don’t know they’re e-mailing from their iPhone?
10. You consider non-Apple technology obsolete. Android, Droid and any other smart phone might as well be a dumb phone as far as you’re concerned.
11. Apps – This was added since it yet another level addiction that we can only begin to understand and will write more about.

If this list started sounding too familiar around number three (or if you’re reading this on your iPhone) take a step back, a deep breath and turn your phone off for a few minutes.

Editor’s Note: this list was compiled by a “borderline” iPhone addict.