With 72% of all Internet users active on various social networking sites, social media has become one of today’s most powerful communication tools. Social media websites have grown exponentially in the past couple of years and have cultivated a massive following among people of all ages.

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

As of 2014, Facebook alone has 1.15 billion users, with 23% of these users logging in to their accounts at least 5 times per day. Twitter, another big player in the social media arena, has over 550 million registered users and 215 million monthly active users. Other social media giants such as Youtube, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram are also showing staggering growth in the number of active users.

With its extreme popularity around the world, it is no wonder that social media is now used for a multitude of social needs—be it for personal or business reasons. In fact, people are discovering more and more ways to engage using different social media strategies.

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

Social media marketing has seen an incredible success rate in the past years, and is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies used by social media marketers today. Numerous social media approaches are developed by experts to promote brands and reach target markets.

But with all the amazing things we can do and achieve with social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the thin line between being empowered, and outright being owned by it. Sometimes, we overdo our interactions through the Internet, to the point where we can already call it an addiction. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate our use of social media, and take a break every once in a while.

Here are 10 signs you need to take a step back from social media:

1. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming your main platforms of communication.

We know how easy and convenient it is to reconnect with family and friends through social media. With a few clicks, you can find that college friend you haven’t seen or talked to in years. Oftentimes though, people end up communicating constantly through social media without making the effort to see each other anymore. The next time you open your chat box, invite a friend to dinner, and have an actual face-to-face conversation. Because no matter how much we try to find alternatives to it, there is nothing more powerful than real life connections.

2. Social media is keeping you from being productive.

Social media platforms, when used without caution, can be the most distracting thing ever. If you are constantly checking your Facebook news feed at the office, you are likely to get very little work done on time. Yes, social media content is addictive, but we must know the proper time and place to access it.

3. Too much of your personal life is plastered all over social media.

Posting heavily on social networking sites is becoming the digital alternative to writing in a diary. People update their statuses on Facebook with even the most mundane of things, or worse, with things that are better kept private. How many of us have encountered a status that was posted with the purpose of picking a fight? Or statuses that are obviously rooted from a lovers’ quarrel? Many of us are guilty of this, and we must learn to take it under control.

4. You rant way too much on Facebook and Twitter.

So your boss has been torturing you all week and with an impulsive wave of emotions, you tweet nonstop about how you just want to quit your job. Well, don’t be surprised if one of your coworkers chance upon this particular tweet, and you get fired quicker than you can even say #hashtag.

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

5. You spend too much of your time on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram stalking people you haven’t met.

Social media has redefined the way we socialize. It has become a habit of ours to check if the person we’re about to meet likes the same things we do. Sure, it is tempting to get to know a person through their Facebook page—it can be an aid to a fruitful conversation later on. But keep in mind, genuine connections are built through actual conversations, not by you obsessively looking through where they’ve been in 2008.

6. You access social media even when you’re supposed to be concentrating on other things.

A study on social media engagement reveals that 60% or so of social media time is spent on smartphones and tablets. And because it’s very accessible this way, people tend to check their social media accounts while driving, cooking, and during a multitude of other activities that require full attention. If you catch yourself doing this, stop immediately. It’s not safe.

7. You take social media metrics for granted.

You may not be aware that you’re doing this, but you may be overlooking all the business opportunities presented by new social media trends. If you spend so much time purchasing things online, maybe you could venture into an online business of your own? Limit using social media for trivial pursuits and consider using the many tools for social media marketing to your economic advantage.

8. You feel socially cut off from everything when you don’t have access to the Internet.

Your social media self badly needs a break if your Facebook and Twitter accounts are the first things you run to when you feel alone. Don’t let your social media life define you instead try to drift and tame yourself from social media.

9. Your self-esteem is somewhat tied to how many “Likes” or “Retweets” you get.

All of us, at some point, have been guilty of this. Try not to let your social media popularity (or lack thereof) affect how you see yourself. Don’t get caught up in this trap. Instead, post things that matter to you and don’t mind if someone else thinks it’s cool.

10. You check your social media accounts upon waking up in the morning, and before you close your eyes at night.

Yes, it’s hard not to do this. But every once in a while, try to look out the window first upon waking up. You may be amazed when what you see outside is better than your best friend’s breakfast post on Instagram.