The Great Wall of Social Media.  It came out of nowhere and I slammed into it at 100 mph, headfirst.  Since the fall of 2008 I have been actively, enthusiastically learning social media…NON-STOP… pretty much 7 days per week, tied to my smart phone, loving every minute of it.

Until it flattened me about 3 weeks ago.

I didn’t see it coming and it literally hit me overnight.  Yes there is such a thing as social media burnout, social media overload, social media addiction.  I never thought it would happen to me, but it did.

In hindsight now I can clearly see I had it coming.   Two years ago by necessity, not choice, I had to dive into social media marketing.  My advertising budget to market an entire resort destination was cut to ZERO, and I had to make social media work.  It came to the rescue, it saved the day (or actually, it has saved us the last two years).  But social media is addicting.  It operates just like a drug – the more you use it, the more you want and in my case, because it worked so well for the destination I work for I kept spending more and more and more time learning, participating in and literally living social media.

But three weeks ago I crashed and burned big time.  With this crash 3 things happened to me:

  1. I realized I was sick – really physically sick and had been so for some time but was so busy, so addicted to social media and spending so many hours a day and more hours per night on the computer I didn’t take time to see and feel what was happening to me.
  2. I couldn’t stand having my phone around me, constantly letting me know what was happening in my social media world and I felt resentful of it as well as resentful of my computer (which is a bad thing when it is so much a part of how you make a living).
  3. I started listening.  We all know that listening is a big part of social media, but I started listening to more than just what was being said on social media platforms.  I went back to listening to other things (and left my phone far away in another room).   I shut off my email at regular intervals.  I walked away from this blog.  I listened to the world around me, not just the computer screen in front of me.

A year ago social media proved its worth to me and my community as we were able to track its ROI and could prove it sustained our area.  I knew how strong a difference it made; so with that success I should have realized that I could back off a bit and use it in moderation.  BUT, I was addicted and kept needing and wanting more until I completely and totally collided into the Great Social Media Wall.

My current social media status?

  1. I’m physically on the road to recovery.
  2. I can stand to have my phone around me, but in moderation.  I can walk away from it and be “disconnected” for a while.  Wow, have I ever missed that feeling!
  3. With the writing of this blog post I am getting back into the swing of social media, but I do have to admit, it was great to just sit back and listen for a while.

So what’s going to change for me?

  1. While social media runs at warp speed 24/7, I no longer will (at least I think I won’t).  I’m setting limits; I’m forcing myself to not be quite so connected.
  2. I’m realizing that I’m not going to miss out on anything if I take a few hours or even a couple of days off from social media and people will most certainly get by without me.  Yes, I’m sure that there will be times when it’s tough to catch up, but I want to go a different way in the road so I don’t meet up with that Great Social Media Wall again!
  3. I’m going to try very hard to curb my addiction to social media – at least the good news is that this type of addiction can be fought with just plain common sense and I am going to try to use mine now that I have found it again!

So why write this all down to share with the world?   This was yet another social media lesson learned, a tough one, but hopefully by sharing what happened to me it might make someone else slow down and think about what they’re doing before they actually crash.

I’m curious… Have you hit the Great Social Media Wall?  Has this happened to you?  If so, I’d love to hear your story and what you do now to make sure you don’t backslide.