Before votes closed for the UK Blog Awards (which I've been shortlisted for - yay!), I was invited to submit a guest post to the UK Blog Awards website, so I wrote about something that's been troubling me for a while: my addiction to social media. As a blogger, freelance writer, and social media manager for two different companies (in addition to working at a full-time job in book publishing), I'm constantly on my phone. Constantly.
I've reproduced the post here, word for word, and would love to know what you think. What's been your experience with social media? Do you use it regularly? Or are you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest just a little too much?
Here's what I had to say:
When I woke up this morning, the realisation that I manage 10 different social media networks across 3 different accounts (including my own), hit me hard: no sooner had I poked contact lenses into my still-bleary eyes than I began to reply to retweets, mentions, and new followers.
At a recent foodie meet-up for bloggers, we sat patiently as dish after dish appeared from the restaurant’s kitchen and were placed before us on the elegantly laid table. No one dared touch the food before every DSLR and phone had been whipped out for the perfect photo – and the perfect corresponding hashtag.
Managing it all (along with a full time job) has become exhausting; and it isn’t just my eyesight or sleep that’s been disturbed. I’m worried that it’s affecting my relationships as well.
“Keep talking,” I recently said to my husband, whilst selecting a VSCOcam filter for Instagram. “I’m listening.” But was I really? How much attention can you give when your eyes aren’t on the person you love and you’re only half listening?
I’ve always prided myself on being a multi-tasker, but the way social media has taken over my life lately, I feel as though I’ve gone a bit too far. I’d love to have some “off-time” from social media, when my phone’s not within reaching distance, or when I just turn it off altogether, but my fingers twitch when it’s not at my side.
At lunch with friends, unable to be completely wrenched away from my precious phone, I’ve kept it on the table, but turned it facedown, to show the person sitting opposite me that I’m giving them my full and undivided attention – almost.
Social media garners instantaneous reactions, and because of this, it’s addictive. It has also been a terrific way for me to share my blog; I’ve received such terrific feedback and comments from readers all over the world on posts I’ve written that have affected them in some way, which makes tweeting and posting all the more worthwhile.
‘I wonder if anyone has favorited or retweeted my tweet,’ I’ll wonder, as I’m waiting for the bus. I then proceed to check Twitter for the entire bus ride. I can’t wait to respond to mentions, as I feel those people – these strangers that I’ve never met – can’t wait.
But in the last week or so, I’ve realised something truly important: they can wait. My best friends, my husband, and my family? They can’t wait. And they deserve so much more from me.
So I’ll keep tweeting and posting and pinning – but when it’s time to turn off my phone, I’ll make sure I do so. No twitchy fingers.