Don’t tell me when I had enough!

justify-social-media-addictionI’m addicted to my iPhone.

I’m constantly scrolling through my phone checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, looking at the latest updates even if I just checked it five minutes ago. Because five minutes is practically an eon in Internet-time.

It’s a real sickness and I hadn’t realized how bad it was until the mister started ‘phone-shaming‘ whenever he caught me looking at my phone or even the times he’d pop his head into my room to say good night and see me laying in bed, in the dark, peering at Pinterest with my glasses off.

Folks, it was bad.

Not only that, but I would end up staying up at least half an hour later (or more) just looking at my phone. Because you know how checking your phone ‘just for a second’ turns into an hour of pinning recipes you’ll never make and clothes you’ll never buy and YouTubing old Reading Rainbow episodes.

My reliance on my phone is sickening. It’s the first thing I grab in the morning (yes, even before my glasses!) and the last thing I put away at night (yes, even after my glasses). And so I decided to do something about it and force myself to reach for my phone less each day. It was time for a ‘tech timeout.’

There was no way I’d be able to quit this cold turkey so I’m attacking this in smaller chunks, mainly by forcing myself to wait until a specified time before checking my phone. If I’m out at church or somewhere, I wait until I get home before checking my phone instead of checking it immediately after exiting the building. If I’m hanging out with the mister, I wait until we’ve called it a night. And the kicker: I stand up while checking my phone before bed. This keeps me from wandering through the Internet for a half hour or so because I’ll get tired from standing. Genius.

So far it’s working. The playful shaming from the mister is also helpful (though I admit to sneaking peeks at my phone when he goes to the bathroom or upstairs) and I have been going to bed a lot earlier than usual. I do allow myself to lay in bed with my phone on nights when I don’t have to be up at a specific time in the morning. But all in all, it’s been quite freeing not to be constantly connected.

Anyone else feel like they’ve had to have a technology intervention?

Can you tweet the love tonight?

I’m a bit of a Twitter-holic. It’s one of the first things I check in the morning (after email) and something I check throughout the day (like email). I wouldn’t even go so far as to say it’s because I like keeping up on what people are doing or saying (because this isn’t Facebook: THANK THE GOOD LORD).

Something that’s been great since the social media boon is the access we, as consumers, now have with our favorite brands. Gone are the days where we are stuck trying to weave our way through the crappy phone tree in hopes of finding a live person to talk to like Catherine Zeta Jones learned to weave through the lasers in Entrapment.

Yeah, this is still completely ridiculous.

Now we can just tweet our displeasure or pleasure in a tweet or Facebook post and have someone reach out (the better companies do this within hours). I’ve had some good customer service experiences through Twitter, from getting help from Comcast, being encouraged to purchase a pair of shoes I really wanted by Guess, and I have a running conversation with King’s Hawaiian bread.

But this past week I had a blast experiencing the perks of the connections social media now offers consumers.

Thanks to a promoted tweet, I learned that Ben & Jerry’s was touring the East and West coasts giving away free scoops of their new Greek Frozen Yogurt. And since I’m all about free stuff, I quickly jumped on board and began tweeting them. Repeatedly. At least once s a day for a week, practically begging them to swing by my office. Well, it worked!

Courtesy of my coworker, TF

 OMG! IT’S FREE FROYO!!

I did this as a surprise for my coworkers, so I didn’t tweet my pleading missives from my company’s Twitter handles and boy was everyone surprised. Even more so, I invited the entire building to join us. Yeah, I was pretty popular that day. 

Then on Saturday, I found a surprise box in the mailbox for me. I thought it was weird since I hadn’t ordered anything but then I was even more curious when I saw who sent it:

Oh? What’s this? A surprise?!

I wasn’t sure what this was about but was pleasantly surprised when I opened the package to find a thank you note for participating in their recent “Bread Pudding Recipe Exchange,” two reusable shopping bags, and a package of sweet rolls. I may or may not be drooling a little bit as I type this. And surprisingly, I still have that pack of rolls…because I was in the process of finishing up another pack I had picked up a couple days before. What? I love the stuff!

All this? For me?!

These experiences are definitely ones that will stay with me for a while. As a marketer, I see the inherent good will these small acts will do: I definitely have a more favorable view of these two companies even though I was a fan before these things happen, and I am more likely to continue buying their products because of all these warm, fuzzy feelings. And most importantly: one of the first things I did after these events was tweet about them. Free publicity. I’m a marketer’s dream.

But seriously, what I really liked about this was how Ben & Jerry’s and King’s Hawaiian made me feel like Peter Shankman (remember him? The Morton’s Steakhouse at EWR guy?) without regard to my follower count or Klout score. I felt special and appreciated and you can’t really put a price on that.

So I say thank you (again) to Ben & Jerry’s and King’s Hawaiian for taking some time out to brighten up my day.