Diana Adams is one of a growing number of social media junkies who have experimented with taking some time off from the web. She describes “hitting a wall” with her social media use and online relationships, and taking 8 days off from the net so that she could put things in perspective.
What’s refreshing about the resulting blog post, 6 Ways To Overcome Social Media Burnout, is that she’s not preaching withdrawal from the web. Rather, she outlines some useful practices — like keeping in touch with phone friends, and making sure not to eat at your computer — that can keep social media use from becoming compulsive and dysfunctional.
But what I really love is her 6th point: “Your Social Media Friends are Real Friends, Really!” As she writes:
You will read that when you are feeling burned out; you should start to focus on your “real life.” I hear that all the time. It’s such segregation really. There seems to be this theory of real life vs. social media life.
Just like at other times in our history we have had issues with segregation, I think this is a backwards and messed up way to view things which only contributes to the problem because it encourages a feeling of “us” and “them” instead of “togetherness.”
Our online friends are just that, online. However, that does not mean they are second-class friends that are irrelevant in our “real life.” This attitude, to me, just shows that social media is still in the infant stages.
There are real people behind those avatars (most of them anyway), and the relationships you build are real. Social media, in whatever form it continues to evolve into, is an extension of our “real life,” not a separate entity. My social media friends are not the red headed stepchildren of my life, which is how most articles on this topic will spin it.
My Twitter friends are especially very close to me, and I love them very much. Knowing that these relationships are real, and you can treat them as such, will bring a lot of happiness to your life which will help you overcome this burnout syndrome.
Like Diana, I am tired of the false dichotomy between online life and “real” life, and between online friends and “real” friends. Social media pals, it’s time for us to stand up for our own reality! Just because it’s on screen doesn’t mean it’s not real.