Social media is one of the most significant technological innovations of our generation. It has allowed us to be constantly connected to the people in our lives, deepen relationships, enhance community and efficiently let others know about our lunch choices by checking into Chipotle.
But like many areas of life, there can be too much of a good thing.
Here are a few ways to recognize if you may be spending too much time on social media and might want to consider signing off for a little while. (Of course, before you do, please “like” and share this article. Let’s be reasonable here, you can’t be expected to just quit cold turkey.)
Watching TV and Scrolling Have Become Synonymous Activities.
Do yourself a favor, and just unplug every once and awhile. Every free moment doesn’t have to be an opportunity to look at a friend’s vacation pictures. Sometimes there are more important things to do — like binge-watching old episodes of The West Wing totally uninterrupted.
You Occasionally Find Yourself Browsing Photo Albums of People You Don’t Know.
We’ve all done it. We click through to a friend’s page or on a random comment thread, and suddenly find ourselves poking around on a complete stranger’s profile. Even though it’s relatively common, there’s no other way to put it: Browsing through a random person’s personal photo album is totally weird and creepy when you really think about it.
You’re Regularly Involved in Overly Heated Arguments About Politics, Religion or the Critical Merits of a Movie You Just Saw.
Debating topics you’re passionate about isn’t a bad thing. But, as anyone who’s done it in a Facebook thread could tell you, sometimes social media sites aren’t always the best places to engage in civil discussions involving opposing viewpoints.
You’ve Recently Spent More Time in Social Media Conversations Than Actual Face-to-Face Interactions.
Social media should enhance your real-world relationships, not replace them.
You Have Several “Friends” Whom You’ve Never Actually Met — and Probably Never Will.
Sometimes it’s unclear just how you became linked in a virtual friendship with the roommate of a cousin’s fiancée, but from time to time, these things happen. But, if you have numerous “friends” who you’ve never met or spoken to, and likely never will, you’re probably online too much.
Actually Eating a Carefully-Prepared Meal is the Second Best Part of the Dining Experience — Just Behind Posting a Photo of it.
This goes for Facebook and Instagrammers.
You Know More About the Lives of Former High School Classmates Now Than You Did When You Were Actually in High School.
Social media is a great way to stay connected to friends and family members. But if you know more about the lives of former high school classmates who you haven’t spoken to in 15 years than you did when you actually went to school with them, you might be spending a little too much time online.
You’ve Accidentally “Liked” a Random Comment While Scrolling Through Facebook on Your iPhone — Several Times.
I once “Liked” a friend’s spouse’s update about a negative medical test result while speedily scrolling on my phone, and didn’t find out until later, when I was notified that people had started to comment about it. I considered it a much-needed wake-up call.
Looking at Your Friends’ Life Updates Makes You Feel Bad About Your Own Life’s Accomplishments.
If you feel depressed while reading about your friend’s new spouse/baby/job/house/car/vacation and compare their accomplishments to your own life, it’s probably time to take a break. Comparison can be an unhealthy habit.
You’ve Posted Updates to Make Friends Envy Your Life Accomplishments.
It’s important to know the difference between sharing good news with the people in your life and turning social media into a scorecard of whose life is going the best.
You Poke People All the Time.
Just kidding, no one uses the “poke” feature anymore, not even a full-fledged Facebook addict.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.