Me: “Hi everyone. My name is William and I’m a social media addict.”
The Group: “Hi William.”
Me: “I never thought I’d be standing here in front of a group like this, but hey, they say the first part is recognizing you have a problem, right?”
The Group (nodding):
Me: “I probably started out as many of you did, I set up a Facebook account thinking it might help me promote my writing, maybe help me keep connected to my kids and friends. But I think I knew it was a lie when I started.
I was actually frustrated when I started. See, I not only set up a personal Facebook account, but a professional one as well. At the same time I set up a website --again to promote my writing. I spent hours trying to get a decent photo to use as an avatar, figuring out how to post to one page and share it with another without it duplicating and sometimes triplicating the post.
Some people kept poking me and I didn’t know why or how to stop it. I looked for a ‘slap’ or ‘hit’ button, but there was nothing but the ‘poke’ thing. So I poked back. Hard. Multiple times. I didn’t realize at the time that some people enjoy getting poked. Sick, I know, but I played into it and even today I have people randomly poking me.
To my shame, I’ll admit that I sometimes like it.
It escalated fairly quickly. I saw people post funny quotations, pictures, even short films. They got a lot of “likes.” I wanted to share witty things. I wanted to think people were laughing at what I shared. I hoped –sometimes prayed—that people would comment on my posts.
I started off wanting “likes,” but then my obsession grew to where I needed “likes.” I wanted people to like my website, my professional Facebook page, my regular Facebook page. I tried to overlap postings so more people would see them and, hopefully, like me.
When I received a “like” I felt like Sally Field accepting an Oscar. Depending on the post I sometimes even cried a little when I was “liked.”
My obsession spread. I opened a LinkedIn account. I somehow had it in mind that if people connected with me there it meant they liked me, maybe found me interesting, maybe even liked my work. I soon found out that wasn’t always the case.
Sometimes they connected with me on LinkedIn just to build their own connection base and to make themselves look better. I was just a number to many of them.
I felt so used.
I went back to focusing on Facebook and my website. I kept telling myself it was to promote my writing, but by then I knew it was a lie. I became an expert at lying to myself. I quit working on my novel, telling myself I simply didn’t have time. Yet, I found plenty of time to check Facebook.
My sickness grew and I began looking on the web specifically for humorous things to post on FB. FB…huh…I’ve grown so used to it now I often refer to it simply by its initials. And others with my same addiction know what I’m referring to.
The other night I fell asleep in my chair. I woke up, my head on my laptop, drooling on my keyboard. I had posted ‘aldskvn[oeingzkfhgalnveoiang’. People posted back asking if I was okay.
I wasn’t. But I wasn’t yet willing to admit I had a problem.
Someone “unfriended” me on Facebook. I felt as though the wind had been knocked from me. Soon after, someone unsubscribed to my blog and “un-liked” my website. I cried for three hours, curled into a fetal ball on the floor.
But I was sure I could get more friends and more “likes.” I began to hunt harder for things to post that would engage people and compel them to “like” me, my professional Facebook page or maybe even my website.
I began re-posting other people’s funny posts because I could not find things funny enough to post on my own.
I grew frantic. I even went so far as to make a Bitstrip of myself so I’d have more material to post.
I knew I’d hit rock bottom when I posted two cats licking each other. There was some veiled sexual humor to the post, but in looking back at it I have to admit, it was pretty pathetic.
That’s when I knew I needed help and why I’ve come here to this meeting to open up, put it out there and let loose of it all.
So there it is. And why I need your help and support. ”
Me: “Um…sorry, the lights hitting the podium are kind of bright. I can’t see you all very clearly. Hey, what the hell? What have you guys got in your hands? Are those smart phones?”
The Group: “Um…well…just needed to check…it’s um…”
Me: “You mean I’ve been up here spilling out all of my shit and you guys have been checking your Facebook pages on your phones?”
The Group: “Well….umm…just for a sec…we were listening, just…”
Me: “Damn, you guys are sick. But thank you. I now realize that I have a long way to go before I hit the bottom you guys are feeding at. I’m outta here.”
The Group: “But wait…”
Me: “Hell, no. I’m going straight home and write a blog about this shit, post it, then post it on both of my Facebook pages.”
The Group: “But…”
Me: “Nah. I can see now I actually have a handle on this. There’s no problem. I’ll just focus on using FB to promote my writing. I’ll just work on my book if I don’t have something of substance to post.”
The Group: “But…”
Me: “Later taters. I’m outta here.”