When To Step Back From Social Media

Ah, social media. It's more than just a means of killing time for some people. There's Facebook, where you can share where you're going, who you're with, that new job you just got, that dog you bought, that house you moved into, and that hottie you're in a relationship with. Instagram is a haven for selfies and yes, food pictures as well as seeing what your favorite celebrities are up to. Twitter lets you compress all of your most urgent thoughts into 120 characters, and even Google+ has gained some traction.

People no longer use these websites and apps as an accessory to communication. Instead, they've become communication themselves. Why go through the awkwardness of texting or even (gasp) calling that old high school friend or coworker when you can just hit them up on Facebook? It's a lot easier for you and probably them too. While sadly people would rather talk screen-to-screen than face-to-face, some can take it too far. Here are a few signs that you need to use that handy deactivate feature that Facebook offers and take a social media break.

You Can't Go More than an Hour Without Checking Social Media - Whether you're at work, at home, or anywhere in between, you have to be connected. What if you miss your favorite celebrity's Instagram update or your best friend uploads those pictures from last night's party? You always find a way to discreetly update yourself on what everyone else is up to.

You Document Everything on Facebook or Twitter - If it happens, your friends and followers need to know about it. By now, your audience is already aware of what you ate for breakfast this morning, how you feel so bad about missing your morning workout, that you think your coworker is mad at you but you don't know why, and how you have a date tonight. If it would annoy you if someone else did it, take a step back and look at your own behavior.

Every Meal Goes on Instagram - Isn't that the point of pretty food presentation, for it to be documented and shared on Instagram? Whether you make the meal yourself or you order it from a restaurant, your followers are going to see it, perhaps from multiple angles. You don't just post food pictures though. You also balance your Instagram feed with a steady stream of selfies. Sometimes you throw in the odd picture of your pet.

You Care about Your Connections on Social Media More than Some People You Know - You also feel sometimes like you know the people you've met through Twitter or Instagram better than your own circle of friends and family. You're very invested in these people's lives, even though they may live on the other side of the world and you two may never meet.

You Constantly Compare Your Progress Against That of Your Social Media Buddies - Your old high school friend just got a promotion, and she's only been at her current job for a year. You've been toiling away for three years without any signs of advancement. Your former neighbor bought a house while you struggle to make the rent. It seems often like everyone has a much better life than you.

Then You Feel Really, Really Bad About It - All those comparisons often make you feel inadequate and terrible about what you do have, even if you're doing a good job for yourself. Even though you kind of dread logging into Facebook, you also realize that you don't want to stop visiting.

You Can't Put the Phone Down When with Others - Your friends, significant other, and family all see more of the back of your phone than they do of your face. You're always browsing through your Facebook or Twitter feed or updating Instagram, even when you're supposed to be hanging out with those important to you.    

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