Arment Dietrich

Addicted to Social Media

By: Arment Dietrich | August 2, 2010 | 

Guest post by Martin Waxman, co-founder and managing partner of energi PR, Communications, Digital in Toronto.

My name is Martin W., and I am…addicted to social media.

It started innocently enough with my first BlackBerry. I think I would call that my gateway connection.

Or maybe it happened earlier. With webmail and the email inbox I had to check at all hours of the day and night – and respond, of course. We’re talking ‘90s instantaneous here.

No wait. I can trace it back even further to my first call-answering machine. I’d come home and be compelled to rewind and play the tape even before I took off my coat. That hypnotic flashing red light: On. Off. On. Off. As if the world was at your doorstep (or maybe just your mom).

What’s that you say? No, this twitch is nothing to worry about. It’s just a reflex action when my arm knows it’s time to check my smartphone. It’s been at least a minute, can you blame me? Besides, there may be a stop-the-presses RSS to read, a life-changing @ to respond to, a highly important recommendation to bestow, a you’ve-got-a-friend to friend.

Sure, social media is the last thing I do before bed and the first thing I do when I get up in the morning. It’s an ebb and flow; though mostly flow. I mean, who cares if I can’t sit through a 90-minute movie without sneaking out to check in on Foursquare; if my eyes go wonky when someone speaks in longer than 140 characters; if I get jittery when I go somewhere with no visible means of communal WiFi?

I am, and always have been, social. And we social folks live for interactions. We like to chit-chat, pass along the latest news, share a story, idea, joke, or random thought with any and all who might hear and some who might not. But it’s harder for them not to listen because we’ve been AMPLIFIED!

Which is great because I’m really shy at heart. And looking at an avatar is a whole lot easier than looking a person in the face. And a well-placed emoticon can be much more convincing than emotion.

There, I feel much better opening up to you in a blog. And I hope you can now understand me. So when you see me IRL and notice I have that faraway look in my eye, please don’t judge me. Just know it isn’t love, it’s Facebook. And I’m more than happy to meet you there.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. My connections are calling…

Martin Waxman is a co-founder and managing partner of energi PR, Communications, Digital in Toronto. He blogs at, can be found on Twitter @martinwaxman, teaches social media and co-hosts the Inside PR podcast. He still hasn’t entered a 12-tweet program nor given up any of his connections.

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  • ahh yes! lately i’ve been reduced to sneaking peaks under the covers (at very weird hours of the night I might add) for fear of missing some message from another time zone- what concerns me most is my reaction when i dont get a message – genuine disappointment and a fear that no one likes me anymore – I’ll tell you who does like me though – the dogs! Now they’re up and all excited cause they think its time to go out at 3 in the morning! my husband on the other hand is about ready to trade me in for a 50’s version of “wife” – one who bakes bread from scratch and who mends torn stuff! Life’s a trade off :)!

  • Oh Martin, they say admitting it is the first step. Therefore, my name is @AbbieF and I,too, am a social media addict. When I hang with other self-proclaimed addicts there are no issues with “checking in” on the various sites. It is when I am with those that don’t get it that it becomes an issue. I mean, really, is it so bad that while I was on a Caribbean cruise that I wanted to see what was happening with my peeps. I just needed about 15 minutes to do a quick scan, update, reply, no worries.

    Yes, I keep the phone by my bed and take a quick glance if I happen to wake up in the middle of the night. I have friends in other parts of the world — just because I’m asleep doesn’t mean they aren’t doing things I should know about.

    So I proudly join you and the others that I’m sure will post here and wholeheartedly embrace this particular addiction.

  • Martin,
    I agree wtih Abbie. Admitting the problem is the first step. I’m @dfriez and I also am an addict. But, I do set limits for myself, and I have never checked Foursquare during a movie. So, you make me feel better about myself!

  • Thanks for the comments Esther, Abbie & Debbie. Agree that coming forward and admitting is the first step. (So… who else is out there?) Like you, there are the furtive glances, which used to be romantic but are now relegated to see if there are any notifications…

    • Martin,

      I’ve got some new social media tools that will make you feel reeaaal good.

      The first one’s free, but then you gotta pay.


  • You guys are killing me! I will never admit I’m an addict. I won’t do it. Never, ever.

    I spent an hour and a half last night, going through the Reeder app, reading all of my subscriptions and tweeting or bookmarking the ones I really loved. But I’m not addicted. #notonebit

    • I’m not sure about that… And I read #notonebit as no-tone-bit (which is probably more proof). And Jack, about that free tool…

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