My name is @chuckcreekmur and I'm addicted to social media.
There are a lot of "habit forming" substances in this world, but social media is one that now deserves mention next to drugs, alcohol or other matter than can cause abuse.
Sounds innocent, right? It sounds communal. Like one big funky tribe of people, but it has become all-too-addictive.
This phenomenon is different that the internet in general, which has created a number of dependencies like pronounced sex addiction stemming from online pornography. But, if the internet was cocaine, social media is uncut crack. It has you after the first hit!
By now, people are generally familiar with something related to social media, whether it was good ol Black Planet or something newer like Myspace, Facebook and the latest drug Twitter. Why not take it back to the AOL chat rooms, which was like an online bar room? And most of us are familiar with some sort of addiction, whether it is a drug or something less sinister like food.
I have seen first hand the way these platforms create an addiction upon use in the same manner a crack fiend is created upon a their first hit. Ive noticed associates and friends that claim to live a life of total hustle and bustle but when you log on to Twitter or Facebook they really look at a junkie.
The image of a good friend of mine is burned in my mind. The head is slumped over in the recording studio, clearly burned out. The fingertips are on the keyboard of a Blackberry attempting to finish a message on Twitter, but he blacked out in mid-tweet. I swear I saw callouses on his thumbs. I just left the studio in disgust. This is a true story (except the part about calloused thumbs).
It was an amazing sight to see, especially considering the person's personality.
The person remains an outgoing, social individual and social media simply augments what is already there. But, here is the catch. On the internet, the party never stops...they never tell you to go home or last call for alcohol. "Get outta here, you drunk." There is always somebody to talk to and somebody else that's going through the same addiction. People used to always chastise me for using my devices at the wrong times (dinner, in personal conversations, while driving, and so on). I was in denial.
The thing is, there is always something to talk about, whether it is you or some celebrity - always...incoming...information. ALWAYS. News and data is being delivered in real time nowadays and the drug is injecting in your unassuming finger tips. People talk and chop it up with people they know, may know, want to know, people they don't know and people that they don't need to know.
The addiction to social media mirrors real addiction.
The individual can never have enough of a particular platform or device (i.e. monikers like "The Crackberry"). They use their Twitter to the point where their "real world" friends and family become fearful and worried. They peruse Facebook until the point where they think these "friends" are their friends and family. Hell, even your friends are always your friends. When's the last time you actually talked to that high school friend you are on Facebook with? Still, if you poke somebody and they don't poke back, you get worried. If a "friend" blocks or unfollows you, you'll likely get concerned.
I realized I had to do something about my addiction, which I admit - as a self-proclaimed anti-social socialite - is mild. But, a high-profile person suddenly stopped following me on Twitter without warning! I went to through a sleepless night wondering:
"What did I do?"
"Did AllHipHop publish something crazy?" Or worse: "I'm just wack?!"
Sad, sad, sad and it was time to get help!
Archaic, but I had to ease off the networks. As I do, they try yanking me back with something like Google Buzz or Formspring. It seems like a fight for the souls of the people to me. Too many people judge their worth on how many people care their shoe strings are blue in the snow storm. Too many people invest time in the opinion of those who have no right to an opinion. Who cares? Everybody cares.
So, where does this turn negative? When people start to neglect their responsibility in life, when they are no longer vested in their personal relationships and when they look like crack heads when detached from Twitter/Facebook or their mobile device more than 10 minutes. Gator is alive and well. I continue to field false and defaming accusations of being an addict to these sorts of media, but that's not exactly true. Sure, I once had mobile devices lined my belt like some sort of Urban Dark Knight. Sure, I have developed acute ADD from all the alerts, beeps, bloops, email notifications and distractions. I have gotten down to one mobile device and I force myself to unplug from the matrix. I'm not an addict, I just tweet a lil'...
Log Out. Shut Down. Go Out.
Part 2 Coming Soon!
Social Media Addicts Association Meeting
Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur is the co-owner of AllHipHop.com and he can be found at http://twitter.com/chuckcreekmur.