Social Community Addiction: How to Know If You Need Help


This is my third blog on the shadow side of social communities.
I read an interesting article on the marketplace blog, see link below about how social communities may be infringing on the writer’s life, in terms of productivity. The author of this article took a break from her internet addiction and found she was meeting her deadlines more effectively. I would have to agree with her. For me though, it is not about the distraction so much as a style change. Taking the time to go on facebook or twitter seems to dilute my creative focus because of the change in one’s voice and orientation. You begin to sound very clipped and superficial in your attempt to be pithy enough for the characters allowed. Between texting and tweeting, how lazy does it make us as writers?

So here’s a tip for assessing if you have an internet addiction.

1) What feelings come up if you don’t go to facebook, my space or twitter for a week? Now, withdrawal from cyberspace communities is not like trying to kick smack. Your body doesn’t start to shake as you detox. You may however notice yourself getting more irritable or bored with the conversations of every day people in your life, you know, the people with whom you haven’t invented a dazzling new persona.

2) Are you getting more done in your life? ie. housework, career deadlines, etc

3) Are you getting out and socializing more?

4) Has your excuse for not having time to exercise disappeared?

5) If your social community time was mostly spent at work, are you looking at what is missing in your work now, that you were using them for to distract you? For example, is it time to look at exploring your life purpose? Do you want the work you do to have more meaning for you?

For those who think they may have a social community addiction, do you really have the courage to do this one week of withdrawal and discover a more fulfilling life? I want to go on record with this. I do not believe that everyone who is on social communities for fun are addicts. That is the purpose for the self inventory I provided above. People drink wine without being alcoholics. It has to do with whether it is a device for avoiding certain feelings that is the issue. Enjoy your surfing as long as it doesn’t interfere with “what is at hand on the ocean floor” of your subconscious mind. If you distract yourself for too long, you may not always see the tsunami coming in time…

Dr. Toni Galardi is a psychotherapist, public speaker, author, recovering internet addict, and career coach. She can be reached at 310-712-2600 for consultation.