Three Ways to Avoid Social Media Addiction for the #DigitizedMLO

Summary: Social Media is designed to be addictive… I mean, engaging. If you are going to play in the digital world, you need to spend a certain amount of time actively staring at your device. Three things you can do to help curb the social media addiction are: Turn off your notifications, track your use, and manage your timeline.

I am writing a social media addiction blog post from the bar and typing away on my iPad after jogging with a podcast in my ear. During my run, I stopped twice to deal with text alerts. All of this after spending the last 10 hours in front of a computer screen. I wrote this blog post not only for you, but also for myself. In my case, it helped me efficiently accomplish a task, but it also distracted me from my experience.


The reality is that you can not avoid social media and simultaneously win in real estate. Not with 4 billion in fintech investment last year and 94% of clients looking up their agents online before working with them. So, how do you balance your need to be online with your FOMO and type A real estate personality? I have no idea, but there are three things that can help avoid social media addiction:  1) Turn off your notifications, 2) Track your use, 3) Manage your timeline.

Turn Off Your Notifications

Much of the addictive nature of social media comes from the dopamine release associated with the notifications. They call to me, “hey you, over here, someone just commented, you must know what they said!” Email is the worst. The notification pops up, and I click. Then, I am stuck; Thanks to my social media addiction, I become a reactionary blob of wasted time.  

This post is not a technical primer, so you will have to ask Mr. Google the “how to’s” for your device; however, my life is better since I dramatically limited my notifications. I leave the notification center active in my iOS devices, but I turn off all pop-up and badge app notifications, (the red number on your app).  

“But I will miss stuff.”  Right, you will miss some of that dopamine rush, but you will gain control of when and how you engage these pesky devices.  

I do have a couple of exceptions… I leave the badge icon on my IM and text apps as well as putting them on my front page. I also have a custom ringtone for a few key people.     

Track Your Use

One of my favorite bosses repeated his mantra at least once a meeting: “That which gets measured gets done.”  When my Fiance asked, “Do you think you are addicted to Facebook?” I answered with the truth: “I don’t know.” She turned me on to an app called Moment. I get to measure my time on the phone and iPad which apps I am using and for how long. As a bonus, you can track your kids’ usage as well. I consider the PRO version money well spent.     

So, I started measuring. It turns out I like Instagram more than Facebook, and I spend a bit too much time on both. Now I have an answer to my social media addiction and the ability to manage it.  

By the way, Moment advertises that their Pro buyer decreases their mobile device usage by 25 minutes a day. That is a ton of time to get back.    

Clean up your Feed

I am in my early 40’s, and I struggle to unfriend, block and or unfollow people.  It feels rude and very counter to my mission. I was chatting with a digital native about this issue, and she had a view worth sharing: “It is your feed; you would never let a stranger tell you what tv channel to watch, stop giving them control of your feed.” How about that for perspective?  

You may feel a bit of Fear of Missing Out, aka FOMO.  You might miss that amazing cat video or the birth of your third cousin’s sixth kid.  BUT, you will give someone else the opportunity to tell you all about it, Old school around the water cooler.  

This is a fun (and ongoing) process. I went through my key feeds and unfollowed anyone pushing clickbait, all celebrities, (except The Rock) and finally, anyone that put stuff in my feed that doesn’t serve my mission or my mind. I lean more National Geographic, less BuzzFeed. The beautiful thing is that on FB, it is anonymous and easy.   

Social media is not the end of our civilization any more than the radio, TV or video consoles were. We will adapt and create a new paradigm from which to operate. In the transition, the non-digital natives need a plan. These three tools have helped me put that little supercomputer in my pocket into perspective.