Coping with my addiction


Participants must turn off their phone and stay off all social networks from 9pm to 9am every day. Participants should turn off notifications on apps; make more phone calls instead of just messaging someone; commit to more exercise with less reliance on music, podcasts etc; more reading of books.

The Social Challenge
Cormac O’Malley

Social media addiction is a behavioural addiction characterised as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to use social media to such an extent that it impacts other areas of your life.
With that in mind, my name is Cormac and I’m an addict.
I’m not being flippant about the above statement either – I know myself (and have been told by a LOT of people) that I spend far too much time on my phone/social media.
Hands up, there is absolutely no doubt about it. Part of it comes down to my job as a social media manager but it goes beyond that too. As I type there are two monitors, two phones and a tablet lighting up in front of me. When Ed McGreal asked me to take part in this experiment, I showed him how long I spent per day on my phone – over 12 hours screen time most days. I didn’t however show him the screen time on my laptop, work phone and tablet… so yeah, this social experiment was something that was probably necessary.
Funnily, I had, like an eejit, fallen victim to a scam that hobbled my WhatsApp a week before I was due to take my turn, so when I got that back and Ed let me know I was due to start my week of detox the following day, it was almost a blessing. I honestly feel like I would have been coming out in cold sweats if I had more time to think about giving up my phone.
Now let’s be honest, giving up a phone from 9pm to 9am shouldn’t be a big deal, but when I did it at first, I did feel a few shakes, withdrawal symptoms, phantom notifications going off every couple of minutes, but I was shocked at how quickly I just became used to the idea.
Again, I have to admit that most of my social media fix was sated by the fact that I am sat at my monitors from 9am-6pm (or after) every day, so realistically, what need do I have for my phone so much? Well, it turns out, WhatsApp is the big draw, much more so than every other app bar Twitter.
As the days went by I started to go to bed that bit earlier each night – the midnight bedtime heading towards 10.30pm at one stage and that allowed me to get up earlier to get some exercise in. The notifications were there when I got up, the world hadn’t missed my ‘insightful’ tweets, and I was genuinely surprised that I didn’t feel the need to break the self-imposed curfew at any stage bar one night for work reasons but that was on my work phone so that doesn’t count … does it?
So what did I learn? Well, I learned that I am an addict, but I also learned that I have the capability to overcome that if I really put my mind to it. Will I though? Sure, follow me on Twitter to find out …

I Nominate …
Kieran O’Malley, aka the brother, aka The Galway Player, the one person I know who is even worse than me on social media. I’m not sure how he’d cope without being able to check Everton’s European midweek evening results … oh sorry, I forgot, they voted Leave before it was fashionable.