Irony: Sharing Social Media About Spending Less Time On Social Media.

This Semester I started requiring students in my Social Media Marketing class to tweet to our course hashtag #SocialMedia453 as a small part of their class participation grade. This makes sense right? One of the best ways to learn social media marketing is to be active in social media. A couple years ago a professor based 20% of his student’s grades on how many points their Klout score went up – I’m sure the profs own Klout score went up over the publicity it got him.

My students are sharing good insights into marketing via social media. But what I’ve also found is they are sharing content such as Coke’s “Social Media Guard” video, which is a cone for humans to get them to look up from their devices and off social media.

Another student has shared an article “I’ve seen the future in Singapore, and I have basically stopped using the social media.” This is a great article, but it basically talks about someone quitting social media after seeing people in Singapore constantly on their devices.

Then there is the social media professional who’s blog I subscribe to and podcast I listen to, who started a new blog designed to get families off their devices and spend more time with kids in physical activities – My Kids’ Adventures.

Can social media be an addiction? A new Harvard study shows that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same part of the brain associated with the pleasure we get from food, money or even sex. Perhaps we have gone overboard. A Google search on the words “Quitting Social Media” reveals 6.4 million results including top hits from Huffingtonpost, Fortune, and Forbes on why a writer quit and/or why you should quit social media.

What’s the lesson here? Quit social media? Perhaps. But from a marketing perspective it just works too darn well. And from a personal level we do learn a lot and are able to connect with people and express ourselves in ways never before possible. Perhaps we all simply need to find a little more balance.

Put the phone down for 5 minutes, an hour, dare I say three? Look your significant other in the eye. Play a board game with your kids. Enjoy a sunny afternoon by actually looking at the sky. See the beautiful Johns Hopkins University campus in my header picture above? Too often I don’t enjoy it because my head is buried in my iPhone.

Take a rest for a couple hours or even a Saturday or Sunday. The updates, likes, shares, favorites will be waiting for you when you return. And perhaps using social media to pass this message along isn’t so ironic after all. We are the people with our faces buried in our devices that need to hear the message.

Or read a book. A real couple hundred pages book. I read Nicholas Carr’s book “The Shallows” last summer, where he talks about research that says the Internet is changing the physical structure of our brains reducing our attention spans.

Do you spend too much time on social media? Is going cold turkey the only solution?