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 www.martinwaxman.com, 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.