Being an avid fan of both blogging and reading blogs, I think it is important to address the psychological challenges bloggers can face. All is not always rosy in Blogger Land. Believe it or not, it is possible to become addicted to this social medium. In this article I examine some of the myths, behaviors, personality characteristics, and red flags of a blogging addiction.
Here are some common myths about bloggers and addiction.
- I can’t be addicted to blogging because it isn’t a mind-altering chemical.
- I am employed, and only blog when I am not busy with my job, although I might blog at work if I have time.
- I only blog on important topics – well, important topics to me.
- I only blog to make a difference in people’s lives. If I don’t do it, who will?
- I can stop blogging anytime I want. I just don’t want to stop. This is not hurting me or anyone else.
- I am not addicted, that is a term for alcoholics and substance abusers – coke heads, meth addicts. Blogging isn’t a drug.
- I still go to work every day and it doesn’t count if I work on my blog(s) during my downtime or check the website(s) for comments.
- I hardly ever use a sick day to stay home and blog or to catch up on errands that didn’t get completed because of blogging.
Do you recognize yourself in any of those?
There are also some behaviors that have been identified as common in addictive personalities. With respect to blogging, these include:
- Denying there is an issue with blogging. Denial is the ability to overlook negative consequences so as to be able to justify continuing to engage in a behavior. There might be an awareness that the blogging is creating turmoil, but the desire to blog is stronger than the pressure to stop. Loss of control, being unable to stop the behavior, and continuing to engage in the behavior regardless of adverse consequences are some of the most definitive features of addiction.
- Lying about the time spent engaged in “blogging behaviors.”
- Losing track of time and being late for events, appointments, and celebrations because of blogging.
- Changes in sleep habits and patterns because of blogging or needing to respond to comments. Getting up in the middle or the night or very early before going to work to check the blog, write the blog, or make comments.
- Feeling guilty or confused about the effect blogging is having on your life.
- Disbelief that it is possible to be addicted to blogging.
- Financial problems due to blogging—such as not paying bills on time because of being consumed by blogging.
Not all of these may apply, but if more than two describe you and your current blogging lifestyle it could be a red flag that blogging is impacting your life in a negative manner.
To sort this out, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever lost time from work because of blogging?
- Does blogging create problems for you with other people in your life?
- Do you blog because you feel shy and uncomfortable around others?
- Have you ever felt guilty about blogging?
- Have you ever argued with someone significant in your life about blogging and the time constraints involved?
- Are you more careless in other areas of your life because of blogging?
- Have you lost interest in other areas of your life since beginning to blog?
- Do you blog to escape anything in your life?
- Do you use blogging as a replacement for social interactions in the real world?
- Do you feel compelled to blog and then feel a sense of elation once the blog entry is published – yet the high is short-lived and you feel compelled to begin again?
- Do you feel restless if you do not blog?
If you answered “Yes” to two or more of those questions, blogging could be taking over your life.
Finally, let’s consider the characteristics of an addictive personality in general.
- Impatience with self and others.
- Anxiety in an exaggerated form. It is normal to feel anxious, but in addicts it is constant and chronic. Using the substance of choice, whether it be alcohol, substances, or the Internet, brings momentary relief.
- Grandiosity – feelings of deep worthlessness and low self-esteem covered by haughtiness or pretending to “have It all together.”
- Perfectionism – setting impossible and improbable goals for oneself. Perceived failures result in guilt and self-deprecation.
- Rationalizations – Addicts of any sort are pros at this. Finding justifications for doing what one wants and making it all seem reasonable and plausible.
- Isolation – Blogging is so consuming that it prohibits you from forming deep and lasting relationships outside the Internet world. You becomes a loner in the real world.
- Sensitivity – to criticisms from others related to blogging behaviors.
- Impulsivity – Having a great idea for a blog post and feeling the need to address it and write about it immediately. Becoming irritated if you are unable to blog when the idea presents itself.
- Dependence – A strong dependence on others’ reactions and responses to what was posted. A need to be affirmed.
Discussing blogging as an addiction may seem odd, but it is possible to become addicted to anything. Addiction is addiction is addiction, regardless of the substance of choice. Can you identify with much of what has been written in this piece? A “Yes” may indicate a need to take a hiatus from the blogosphere for a time. If you are unable to stop blogging, then talking to a professional about this compulsion may be helpful. Underneath an addiction is a whole host of unresolved issues. The addiction just momentarily medicates the pain.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ?