Social Media Addiction Now Akin to Drug and Alcohol Addictions? We Don't Think So

@Everyone I think I'm a social media addict. Can't stop clicking every link. #ISpeakIn140characters #HaveAProblem #NeedHelp. RT!

Seems I'm not the only one to transition from everyday Facebooker (my gateway drug) to Twitter. Finding out about news and events before they've reached the mainstream is its own high, and re-tweeting celebrity nuances to share with friends and strangers alike became a thrill, but I never thought much of it. I don't actively pursue new followers or "Facebook stalk" anyone.

But I was in denial. I wouldn't admit it was an "addiction," until I came across this study suggesting Social Media obsessives are like drug addicts or alcoholics. I decided to delve a little deeper and look into support groups. No, really.

"Support group" the Social Media Addicts Association claims to help, with their motto being "Log out, shut down, go out!"

But we social media addicts prefer the digital world to "real life," anyway. We re-tweet, re-post and analyze every social media move in great detail. We even have proclaimed "fans" following our every move. What average person can claim to have that in their real lives?

There are basically four types of addicts: The self-promoter, the constant replier, the other-people promoter, and the expert. Some examples of such specimens:

George Quiroz, Promotions Director for Vitamin C Communications from North Miami Beach, FL, the self-promoter
Current Facebook Friends: 894
Current Twitter Followers: 224
Social Media outlets: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Loopt
Daily use: I use each for about 2 hours, spend most of the time on Facebook and Twitter.
His reasoning: "I like to use them because I feel like I can communicate with all of my friends simultaneously and promote my business more creatively."

Xavier Villarmarso, writer/editor from Hialeah, FL, the constant replier
Current Facebook Friends: 779
Current Twitter Followers: 340
Social Media Outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare
Daily Use: Since I have access with my BlackBerry, I'm literally connected to all my social media every moment I'm awake.
His reasoning: "I use different methods of social media often because I'm a bit of an attention whore. I don't really get anything out of it besides deluding myself into thinking people care where I am, what I'm doing or what I'm thinking."

Michelle Zambrana, freelance writer/public relations professional from Miami, FL,
the other-people promoter

Current Facebook Friends: 586
Current Twitter Followers: 375
Social Media Outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and uStream
Daily Use: I am always connected to my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Her reasoning: "I like to use Twitter for networking, getting contacts out in my field, and discovering new music, news and information."

Agustina Prigoshin, President at Koa PR from Miami, FL, the expert
Current Facebook Friends: 1,171
Current Twitter Followers: 2,137
Social Media Outlets: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, 12Seconds, Foursquare, Savor the Success, Daily Mugshot, Blip TV, YouTube and Goodreads
Daily Use: I would say I'm easily "connected" 13 hours a day.
Her reasoning: "I use different Social Networks because there's a different audience in each. It's useful to listen to the community and talk to the community--those are my primary reasons for being on them."

Which one are you?

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