Are you a social media addict?

Question: How many of you check Facebook, Instagram or Twitter before you even get out of bed in the morning? No? How about before you wash your face in the morning?

I am definitely guilty of this at least two or three days in the week. And that’s only because I actively stop myself from doing it on the other days.

Social media addiction is a real thing. I’m pretty sure I have it.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to Botswana for a whole week and do you want to know one of the things I’m looking forward to most? Sipping red wine in the bush under the stars? Um, YES. But also: no phone signal, no internet connection. An enforced break from all things social media. I can’t wait.

You may say that I could just give myself this break in the land of connectivity too – what’s stopping me except my own lack of self-control right? But the problem is, it’s my job now. I have linked myself inextricably to social networking sites.

Yip. That’s my story. It’s legit ok?

And I’m not complaining – I do love it. It gives me such a kick to watch clients’ followings and reach grow each week on various social media platforms, and to keep an eye on the latest platforms and trends. It’s all changing at a rapid pace and it’s pretty damn exciting to be involved in something like this. But, at times, it does get a bit much.

Do you know how many times I’ve checked Twitter while writing this post? I’m not going to tell you. Because it’s a few times too many.

I know I’m addicted. But I’m not alone.

Apparently an estimated 350 million social media users suffer from Facebook addiction syndrome. On average, people between the ages of 20 and 29 spend a full two hours a day on social media. 31% of people admit to checking social media while on the toilet. Yip. 31%.

Yes, these stats are a little scary. But, looking at my own life, I take solace in the fact that:

a)   My friends do not refer to me by my Twitter or Instagram handle. It’s not that dire yet.

b)   I don’t yet plan my day around the amount of battery I have left on my phone.

c)   A notification doesn’t bring me more happiness than a smile from a real live person. And that’s a win for real life, right?

d)   Being out of range for signal and internet connection for a whole week makes me excited rather than panicked.

So I can’t be that bad, right? There’s hope for me yet?

One last question: How many times did you check social media while reading this article? Mmmm. That’s what I thought.

Image source. You can buy this print here

Social media talks at schools

Whether they’re permitted to be or not, the fact is that a lot of school kids are on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat. Remember how you used to get in trouble because you would spend all day with your friends at school and then come home and talk to them for hours on the phone? Well, social media is the new THAT.

It’s a great way for them to stay connected with their friends all day long, sharing photos, videos laughs and making plans.

The thing is, when you’re digitally surrounded by your friends, it’s easy to forget that these platforms are not safe little social bubbles – they are public platforms. And they can get kids into a lot of trouble, sometimes even when intentions are entirely innocent.

While school learners are digital natives and are very comfortable with these digital platforms, their parents and teachers, as digital immigrants, are not always as comfortable. They sometimes avoid having the all-important “how to be safe on social media” conversations with their kids because they don’t understand the platforms themselves or are unwilling to venture into these murky waters – so where do they even start?

Pomegranite offers social media talks at schools (both primary and high schools) which can be tailored to address the issues specific to your school. For example, would you prefer a talk on bullying on social media or how to stay safe on public platforms – or both?

I recently gave a talk to the grade 4s and 5s at Auckland Park Preparatory School about social media and bullying, and it was a great success. The girls were FULL of questions at the end, and one little girl even put up her hand and told me she loved my nail polish. Winning!

Here’s what their teacher, Vicky Hyland, had to say:

Thank you for a great talk around Social Media for our Grade 4 and 5 girls at APPS. It was pitched at the right level. Your examples were current, relevant and practical. The idea of interaction as well as questions at the end of your talk worked well.

It also highlighted for all the teachers sitting listening how vital a talk of this nature is.

All our pupils are making use of the platforms in one form or another. The girls themselves said how informative your talk was, particularly empowering them on their respective platforms of choice and making them feel safer.”

If you’d like to chat to us about giving a talk, please get in touch.

[Feature image courtesy]

Eye conversations

When you work with someone every day and they happen to be your friend, your communication skills start to develop super powers. You may be familiar with eye conversations from the series How I Met Your Mother (they even have their own wiki page).

It’s time to share two very special eye conversations with you. These happened without the exchange of any actual words. True story.

The first happened at Up the Creek music festival a little while ago. It was the end of a long, hot day and night of partying and while the crowds dissipated after bouncing around to the headline act, I sat on a surprisingly uncomfortable couch with some friends. A newly single Sarah returned from a bathroom mission with an enormous blue drink and a handsome, rugged, foreign, smiling man in tow. The following conversation ensued without any words:

Liz: “Whoah! What’s going on here then?”

Sarah: “He’s a total babe and so lovely!”

Liz “Are you interested?”

Sarah: “He’s great but I’m so not ready. I actually just want to go to bed but I feel bad ditching him. We met in the queue to the bathroom and he just bought me this massive drink.”

Liz: “Dude, I’m about to fall asleep sitting upright. If you want to hang out with him, go for it but you have about 15 seconds before I announce that I’m going to bed.”

Sarah: “Okay cool, I’ll have a little chat and then use you as an excuse.”

Liz: “Deal.”

The second eye conversation happened recently with a very pleasing outcome. Sarah and I were strolling along the ‘Boomslang’, the canopy walkway in Kirstenbosh, during one of our inspiration days discussing our next move in world domination when a man walked towards us with such ‘pazzaz’ that just his outfit demanded an eye conversation.

We both saw him in the same moment: jeans bunched so much in front that they could only be described as ‘cod-piece jeans’ paired with mostly-unzipped artificial fur waistcoat (no under-shirt needed).

We had to act quickly. There was not time for words. Only our eyes could do the job:

Liz: “Best. Outfit. Ever. How are we going to get a photo?”

Sarah: “Go stand in front of him and I’ll pretend to take a photo of you.”

Liz: “Okay, how about here?”

Sarah: “No! He’s moving. Take a step to the left.”

Liz: “Good?”

Sarah: “Great!”

The evidence of our eye conversation, dear friends, is below.

kirstenbosch eye conversation