As as psychologist and 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.