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The Man With The Golden Arm: Managing Social Media Addiction


Written by Simon Geraghty.

Managing Social Media addiction

As small business owners we’ve all been there: checking our mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and if we’re really jonesing checking out our G+… but that’s the hardened addict for you. These are the ones you’ll see slumped over their iPad/iPhone/ Samsung Galaxy, eyes glazed, fixated on finding that elusive ampersand symbol…

For the majority of us trying to manage an on-going concern and keep abreast of the plethora of social media platforms is a real struggle. It’s easy for those furtive glances at the screen on your phone to turn into a secret life in bathroom cubicles, in taxis, on buses and under the duvet last thing at night.

So many strange and hyped delights to sample, have you tried a hit of Pinterest? Maybe you’d like something more exotic? How about Tumblr?

Never mind all that affirmation of me, my ideas, my business, my blog. By the way have you seen my witty discourse on the #vinb hashtag last night?

How did it come to this?

Is your social media obsession driving a wedge between you and your partner? How did that dalliance with LinkedIn become a full blown obsession, and when did I suddenly end up as my own full time marketing department aside from all those networking events and breakfast briefings.

In sales you can win fast, lose fast, win slow, lose slow, or become a social media addict.

Should I detox and if so what are the possible side effects?

You might consider outsourcing this activity to others, and if that isn’t an option you could look to become more disciplined.

Just have a toke of SMO in the morning, again at lunchtime, and in the evening when the kids are asleep. No one needs to know, just you and your followers, likees, and connections… always chasing those damn connections.

Discipline means you can tame that monkey on your back.

Reaching out for other support [groups]

There are some great tools out there to support you – TweetDeck and HootSuite to name just two. These third party applications allow you to manage multiple social identities, schedule posts and manage your activity in one centralised location. TweetDeck is free to use, and is owned by Twitter, while HootSuite is available as a free version and Pro version for $9.99 per month.  Save yourself some time and get back to making sales or closing deals for your business instead.

As part of our 12 step recovery program we’ve outlined some of the features and benefits of each:

User interface: Both offer cool dashboard interfaces. TweetDeck seems to be a bit cleaner and appealing to the eye, while HootSuite is a tad complicated for the first time user and takes a bit of time to figure out (I’m still in this camp). Once you’ve figured out the HootSuite interface I’m told it is very easy to use. (1-0 to Tweetdeck).

Scheduling up-dates in advance: Both TweetDeck and HootSuite (free version) allow you to schedule your posts in advance, and offer similar interfaces to do this. (2-1 to TweetDeck).

System Requirements: HootSuite is browser based but that doesn’t slow it down or put a drain your system resources. TweetDeck on the other hand is powered by Adobe AIR (with all the attendant software up-dates), so an implication of this is that it can be somewhat a drain on your system resources. Couple this with the fact that ever since I started using TweetDeck on my Mac it has been incredibly glitchy, spends too much time hanging and has crashed several times. (We’re now tied at 2-2).

Updating multiple social networks: Both applications will let you update Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, however, HootSuite’s features allow you to update your Facebook Business or Brand Pages (in addition to your common-or-garden Facebook profile), foursquare, MySpace (with its’ new and improved version 3.0), and WordPress.com accounts! This should satisfy the needs of most craven multi-platform users/abusers. (2-3 to HootSuite).

Multiple Accounts/Users: Both of platforms also allow you add several social media accounts enabling you to manage all your Social Media profiles at once. Giddy at the thought?  TweetDeck displays this as a single window where you can separate each account by column. In contrast to this, HootSuite has a multi-tab interface with one for each account you add (think Excel workbook). What makes HootSuite really special is its’ ability to add multiple users due to its’ browser based interface, allowing you to create posts from multiple users. As TweetDeck is not browser based this isn’t an option. And the power of cloud computing wins the day. (The full time score is 2-4 to HootSuite based on a paid for service instead of a free one).


I’m still using mainly TweetDeck on my workhorse Toshiba and HootSuite over on my more dandified Mac. Out of habit I prefer having a centralised control panel to monitor. The increasing draw to HootSuite is based on the fact that it’s less system intensive and gives me access to a greater number of social media channels and user accounts for a nominal fee each month.

So if you’ll excuse me, or maybe look away for just a second… or longer as I can’t get the wifi to work… I just need to check in here on foursquare and quickly up-date my thisismyjam and then I promise to help with the kids….

(With thanks to Ruth from www.pinataspinatas.com for inspiring this post!).

Footnote – ‘The Man with the Golden Arm‘ starred Frank Sinatra back in 1955.