The growing social media problem

May 22, 2017

I am becoming more and more aware – by the day – of what a problem social media addiction is for companies of all sizes and shapes. And it is a HUGE and growing problem for all of us in the AEC industry.

There are some people who cannot stay off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and others, for what seems like any longer than five to 10 minutes at a time. These are the results:

  • Incredibly short attention span for anything. Because they can’t stay off their social media platforms for more than a few minutes, they can’t do anything that takes any real attention span. Reading, for example, goes completely by the wayside. Longer term projects (anything that takes more than 30 minutes to do), cannot get finished. It’s terrible!
  • Inability to pay attention in meetings and even one-on-one interactions with other people (clients, fellow employees, subconsultants, etc.). The constant phone checking to see who “liked” the funny video they posted or proclamation of love for their significant other keeps them from interacting intelligently in meetings and conversations.
  • Damaged family relationships and resulting problems at work. Because no one feels like they ever get any real attention, every relationship suffers. Friends and family members think the social media addict doesn’t care about them. And then when the family life goes to hell, all of the problems associated with that situation eventually spill over into work life as well. Depression, embarrassing confrontations with exes, less hours at work – all are common outcomes.
  • Lack of productivity. These people just cannot get anything done. They are too distracted. They start to confuse “self-imposed-busy-farting-around-on-social-media” with actual work. Their priorities become unclear. The insidious erosion of their ability to get anything accomplished takes hold.
  • Lack of sleep. So addicted, they stay up all night on social media – or, get up in the middle of the night to work on their social media. All relationships eventually become virtual ones and identity is based on numbers of “likes” and “followers.”
  • Give up hobbies. There’s no time to do anything else. Too hard to be on Facebook and ski. Too hard to do quilting and be on Twitter. Too hard to do anything and be on LinkedIn. Can’t do anything but social media. That makes people angry and alienated.

I could go on. But the bottom line is this is a big problem. What can you do about it? You can’t do much. Encourage people to get counseling. If they can’t turn it around, they may need to go. I don’t want to be negative but my guess is the “cure” rate for this problem is pretty low.

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.