I have had a few addictions in my life, the most severe of them being smoking. I gave that up when I became pregnant with my daughter and had since then been almost addiction free. Unfortunately, I seem to have developed a new one over the course of the past year or so. I have been reluctant to believe it, but the evidence against me is starting to pile up: I’m on my iPhone wayyyy too much! More specifically, I am on FB and Twitter constantly throughout the day.
How do I know that I’ve been doing too much social networking? I have phone hand. Never heard of that before? That’s because I just made it up. It’s like tennis arm, carpel tunnel type problems. It occurs in the hand that you use to hold and type on your phone. Sadly, I’m not kidding. Between the ring and pinky fingers in my right hand I have developed a pain that is very similar to carpel tunnel pain and it’s from holding my iPhone. Yes, you may laugh at me now…
It’s a vicious cycle for me. Every day I wake up with the best intentions, telling myself I will only check my phone three times during the day. But then, I read something interesting on FB and comment on it. So I have to check an hour later to see if anyone has replied. Which leads to my reading other things I comment on. Then I jump to Twitter and start a conversation there. I feel obligated to check it often so as not to offend my conversational partners- or so I tell myself. To those of you who do not take part in social media interaction, I’m sure this sounds incredibly pathetic. To those of you who are in the same boat as me, you’re probably recognizing your own behaviors in some of this.
The thing is: life at home with the kids can be really lonely. I am a person who loves social interaction and I don’t do very well by myself. Since I have no adults to talk to during the day (except at play dates), I seek my social interaction elsewhere. In all honesty, FB and Twitter are my social support network- I get help if I need it, offer help to others, chat, joke, argue, philosophize, etc. In a way it’s ridiculous, but sometimes it really helps me stay sane while being yelled at by two little crazy people all day long.
The obvious down side is that I am missing out on things in the real world. Instead of talking to someone on the phone or in person, I do so in written form. When I’m really wrapped up in a heated argument, it is on my mind all day and can totally ruin my mood. The communication between my husband and I has definitely suffered.
What to do about this problem? I don’t know. The only solution I can come up with is to get rid of the ‘smart’ phone and go back to the old school version that is made for you to actually talk to people.
What do you think about the new ways we have of being connected via social media? Are smart phones a step in the right or the wrong direction?