Hi. I’m Jeffrey Powers and I’m a Google+ addict.
I was in a hangout last night that was going pretty well. We were talking about developing in different program languages. But there was a point where I stopped talking and listened (I guess I was getting tired). After 20 minutes of listening, I knew that it was time to turn off from the computer altogether.
But I didn’t.
Instead, a new friend jumped on and I stayed another hour. When I finally did get off hangout, I got up and noticed that those pesky dishes didn’t get done. I remembered that I filled the sink with soap and water, then filled the pans to soak. I grabbed a quick snack and sat down, looking at my email. Since it was GMail, I noticed the alerts (someone either friended me or responded to posts). That is what sucked me in like a Black hole at a candy shop.
The dishes didn’t get done, and to top it off, I had a pile of shoes and socks sitting in the living room. In fact, the whole living room was a mess.
Indications of Google+ addiction:
- Regular chores don’t get done.
- You put off showering (especially if you are at home alone)
- Pileup of dishes and food wrappers around your desk.
- Mail still in box
- Jitters from too much coffee
- Show up late for work or other appointments.
- You get pissed off because you have to hit the “refresh” button (due to the stream freezing up) several times in a sitting.
- Missed phone calls. Lots of messages wondering where you are.
- You look up, daylight is breaking
Now I do have to admit, the last 48 hours was not great for me – I had a Kidney stone that was going through it’s final phases of exiting. Still, I relied on the comfort glow of Google+ and the passing quotes to keep me company. I relied on the fact that others also were staying home on a Friday night for one reason or another.
I started to get this overwhelming feeling; like this has happened before. It came clear last night when I started mentioning the following story. The epiphany hit me like a sledgehammer – I’m addicted.
I remember back around 2000; people were getting on the internet at home for the first time. We had a series of mainframe programmers in a company I worked for. One in particular was having some difficulties, because he was coming in late and tired. After an intervention, we found out he just got his first PC with internet access and was playing some online game for hours.
That was the first time I heard the term “Internet addiction”. I personally realized at that point, I was addicted to the internet, but could control it better. Still, I do let this control my life (after all, it’s what I do for a living).
I was reminded of my other addictions to computers. Back in the 80′s, when we would get the newest issue of COMPUTE! magazine, I was up way past bedtime putting in the lines of code to play some crappy game that I discarded days later for the next project. I remember getting on a BBS for the first time. I also had a phone bill that showed my actions…
Of course, game systems were no different. In 1986, when I got an NES and Tetris – I don’t think I left my room for a week that summer. My only saving grace is that game systems are only addictive to me for short periods of time. After a couple months, the game system just sits on the shelf collecting dust.
The epiphany for me on gaming was when I went to visit a friend. He was playing some baseball game on the NES – except he wasn’t playing it. There was a feature that lets the computer play both sides. He was continually doing that to obtain the stats, which he wrote down in a book. He would literally come home from work and play this game until it was time to go to work again.
Now I am not to that point of my Google+ addiction. I do know my work is either not getting done, or is getting crammed into a smaller window of time. Especially when I get into a hangout. We all know there are lulls in a hangout where everyone is just reading their Google+ streams. Looking for that viral picture or post that we haven’t talked about yet.
So I am sitting writing this article, but I also checked Google+ 5-6 times during the article. One point I saw a friend come in on hangout. Yet, I am in a coffee shop and don’t have my headset, nor want to annoy the other customers.
Ways to curb your addiction
- Close the Google+ window.
- If you use GMail, turn off the notification window
- Set up a schedule – 30 minutes of work, 5 minutes of Google+ (you may need a timer program to remind you to stop)
- Stay off hangout for the day.
- Remember to also check your Facebook and Twitter.