9 Signs That You Are Addicted to Your Smartphone & What to Do About It

Phone obsessed?

I left my house this morning to drop the kids off at school with my three essentials – my phone, my keys, and my coffee.  My purse takes second place to my phone.  If I get really desperate and run out of coffee, there’s an app for that.  We’re in the digital age and I’m riding the wave just like anyone else.  With three children that I do not want hooked on devices, it’s important for me to be painfully aware of how I am using the technology.  Am I modeling what I’d like to see in them or am I doing the good old “do what I say, not what I do?” technique?

As some of you know, we managed to pull off a family digital detox this summer by selling it as a “1970’s Summer”.  It was wicked, but now we’re back to reality and I am, after all, a Social Chick.  Below you will find 9 signs that you may be addicted to your phone but it is also my own personal “watch list” to help keep my mild phone addiction in check.

Just what is the definition of addiction?

Miriam Webster Definition of Addiction

Does the Miriam-Webster definition above sound familiar?  IF so, read on.  If not, great, you may be in the clear – either that or in denial;)  I’ve laid out nine signs, each with an “extreme condition”.

9 Signs That You May Be Hooked.

  1. While your friend/child/spouse is talking, you’re wondering how much longer it will take for them to finish so you can check your phone. In extreme conditions, you check it while they’re talking right in front of them.
  2. You bring it with you to the bathroom. In extreme conditions, you whip it out in public bathrooms because you got a moment away from your dinner guest to check what’s happening “out there”.
  3. You bring it with you to bed (yes, I know, many people use it as an alarm clock but surprisingly enough, there are actual clocks made and sold as alarm clocks). In extreme conditions, you check it after you kiss your partner goodnight and it’s the very first thing you do after opening your eyes in the morning.
  4. You check it while driving because you can’t wait that extra fifteen to twenty minutes it will take to reach your destination. In extreme conditions, you find that you have to respond to messages right there and then while you are driving.
  5. You check your phone during your child’s performance. In extreme conditions, you’re on it while she/he is actually singing/dancing/playing…sometimes the whole time!
  6. You feel lost or empty when you forget your phone somewhere. In extreme conditions, you can’t focus or function when you don’t have it.
  7. When you have alone time, the first thing you do is hang out with your phone. In extreme conditions, it’s the only thing you do.
  8. When you’re out in nature, taking a bath, eating a meal, petting a cat, watching a sunrise, you obsess about capturing the moment in a photo and posting it. In extreme conditions, you take yourself out of the moment to ensure that you do just this and post it right there and then thus missing the moment.
  9. You know how your friends and family are doing based purely on their social media posts. In extreme conditions, you don’t actually talk to them anymore, you simply comment on their posts.

Quote: connection and phones
If you can relate to two or more of these, you may have some issues and need some time away from your phone.  It is easy for us to get attached to our phones because, on the other side, there are people.  It is in our nature to want to connect with others in a loving and meaningful way.  Being addicted or slightly obsessed with our phone takes us out of the moment and we lose touch with what’s going on inside of us.  We disconnect from that creative flow and lose touch with that face to face contact.

The Good News:

The good news is, there is hope for us.  Here are some tips on what to do about it, along with a shameless plug for Vicki Chick’s grounding and self-nurturing  Joy of Missing Out (aka #JOMO) retreat (I know it’s amazing because I attended one last spring  and got nothing but awesomeness out of it):

5 Tips on Recovering:

  1. Take a week to notice your behaviours around your phone. Once you are aware, make a plan with an accounta-buddy* to make a slight change.  This could be as simple as “I will not use my phone when my child is talking to me”
  2. Do you like to do things BIG? Go on a digital detox. You can navigate through one yourself.  Check out Rebecca Coleman’s article here on tips.  The other solution is to go with a group, go off the grid do an actual digital detox retreat.  (This is where the upcoming #JOMO Retreat would come in handy).
  3. Once a week try doing something without your phone. Lock your phone away and get the paints or your writing tools.  Perhaps you’re a hiker…get the boots out.  Spend an hour or two just letting the creative flow through your body and notice how you feel.  Give time back to yourself.
  4. Ask for help. If you’re concerned that you are in the extreme and don’t see a way out, ask for help.  Talk to a trusted advisor, a counselor, a mentor, or your local clergy.  There is always help available when we reach out and ask for it.
  5. Set boundaries for yourself. I’ve heard people say, for example, that they don’t allow their kids in the bathroom while they’re using it but boundaries only work if you stick with them.  Set boundaries like that for your phone and then stick to them.  If it’s hard to remember because these behaviours are so ingrained, post up sticky-notes to help remind you.  Practice makes perfect.


*An accounta-buddy is someone that understands what you’re doing and supports you.  We coined the term in Vicki’s coaching groups for someone that will stand by you, check in with you, and call you on your crap.  They’re awesome.  Anyone need an accounta-buddy? I may be looking.

Seriously, I’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment or connect online – ironic, isn’t it?  Facebook. Twitter. Email.

Yours truly,


Vicki McLeod and Karina Cebuliak are the Social Chicks . They offer social media tips and training. Vicki is the host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

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Unmasking the ‘dark social’

Are you familiar with the term dark social?

While you might think it refers to the shadowy side of social media and Internet use, it is actually a term coined in 2012 by Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, to refer to the sharing of content that occurs outside of what is measured by web analytics programs.
Examples of dark social include links copied and pasted into emails, instant messages, or shared via text message.
So what we’re talking about here are links sent through online chat or other means rather than via a social media platform, from which referrals can be tracked.

Why is this important?
If you’re relying on your website or Internet-based marketing to track leads and determine how and where to spend your online marketing budget and resources, it means that the data that you are collecting may not accurately reflect the traffic sources to your site.
This is a vital component of the metrics that are used to devise marketing strategies and budgets and measure effectiveness.

Dark social sharing also offers insight into how we behave online.
In many ways the increased use of dark social reflects pre-social media and certainly pre-Facebook era habits of social Internet use where chat, forums, email, and instant messaging were the norms for digital social communication.
The numbers are fairly staggering.
In a more recent article Madrigal explains that with a push resulting from the insanely popular Facebook mobile app, upwards of 50 per cent of mobile external traffic is coming in to websites lacking a referrer.  Madrigal’s research explains that the app does not provide specific referral tracking the way Facebook on the desktop does, but that there is a direct correspondence between app usage and increased website visits.

This means we don’t know for sure where the traffic is coming from – but we do know, according to Madrigal, that “Facebook has a much tighter grip on website traffic than anyone thought.”  This tells us that playing nice with Facebook, at least in terms of our outbound marketing efforts remains important, particularly in light of the massive use of mobile devices.
This holds true, regardless of whether or not we can actually track Facebook via metrics as the source. It means we need to make sure that websites – the heart and soul of online communications – are mobile responsive and integrated.
It also tells us that there is still a significant preference for one-to-one direct communication versus the wide-open public nature of most social media platform use.
In other words, we don’t want conversations to be public, and we don’t want them to be tracked.

The Challenge
The challenge for marketers is understanding and identifying traffic sources in order to replicate success and increase and measure market share.
Dark social makes it incredibly difficult to demonstrate return on investment (ROI), if we can’t track the actual traffic.
This points us back to the fundamentals: know your audience, create authentic, engaging, high-value content that resonates with the target market and is highly shareable. Keep it real, and they will come.

We just won’t know where they are coming from.

Vicki McLeod is owner of Main Street Communications and is happy to answer questions. Send them to her through http://www.thesocialchicks.com.

What Not to Wear: A Social Chick and Her Wardrobe

MISSION: Show up in style to Social Media Camp.
ACTION PLAN: Hire Brianna Carson of What Would Audrey Wear? for a wardrobe analysis and action plan for a mindfully crafted professional wardrobe.
RESULT: More than I bargained for & a lesson in what scares me about shining like a star.

This year I had the lucky fortune of getting acquainted with a personal style coach.  That’s right, a PERSONAL STYLE COACH!  What’s that, you may ask?  Let me allow Brianna Carson of “What Would Audrey Wear?” answer this one for me:

Brianna Carson of What Would Audrey Wear?

“I specialize in assisting professional women aged 20-60 communicate effectively with their wardrobes, helping them to get that dream job, feel confident representing their business, or enable them to feel authentic with who they are and how they present themselves in all area in their lives.”

I have had an eclectic collection of clothes for quite some time now.  I have three younger sisters and a lot of very giving friends.  I am given a lot of clothes and have, over the years had a bit of a revolving door on funky finds.  Clothes come in and out depending on what catches my eye.  Some are given to me and in turn, I give some away.  As a result, I don’t feel that my wardrobe has been crafted mindfully with intention nor is it very cohesive.  I just pop on items that make me happy which often means cozy (read: leggings) or ready for anything (read: jeans and a t-shirt).  Being in a professional and rather social industry, one can only go so far with tights and jeans.  It is with this in mind that I approached Brianna to assist me in putting together some signature items that I could feel comfortable in and show up in style to Social Media Camp.  Suit up and show up.  Little did I know what I was really in for…

We started by doing a full wardrobe analysis which comprises of pulling everything out of the good ‘ol closet.

Wardrobe Analysis

We then went through each piece and answered the following key questions:

1.) Does it suit me
2.) Do I ever wear it?
3.) Is it trashed/faded/old?
4.) Does it need to be hemmed or fixed or dry cleaned?
5.) Does it fit with where my mindfully crafted professional wardrobe?

There were a few exceptions.  My old VW Rabbit shirt was allowed to stay in a sentimental pile as were many of my wear around the house and gardening clothes.  Many of the items I had were old and worn, didn’t suit me (color was off, didn’t fit right, etc.).  I had a few that needed to get dry cleaned which Brianna took care of for me.  No excuses now.  I have a couple of hand-me-downs which are super cute but need some TLC by a tailor – in comes Brianna to the rescue.  She just happens to have a go-to tailor that lives close by. It’s a match made in heaven.  Brianna also made a few rules for me.

Rule #1 – No more shopping where teenagers shop or accepting cheaply made hand-me-downs that don’t fit.
Rule #2 – No more “fun” pieces – looking for anchor pieces now.

Brianna put together five signature outfits for me that I could wear right away, without any shopping.  My wardrobe needs anchor pieces (think: boyfriend jeans, plain tanks, plain shirts, LBD – little black dress, flats, and sandals).

5 Key Outfits ready to go

This entire process was not an easy one for me.  To break it down in bite size chunks for you, I had various different thoughts such as:

1.) Who am I if I don’t wear these clothes?
2.) She says people are going to notice me – that’s scary – so now I have to really stand in my power (read Marianne Williamson’s quote on truly being in our power – our true *fear*)
3.) Does this mean I need to face “ultra-maturity”?  Check out Vicki McLeod’s Main Street Page for home truths about maturity.
4.) Can’t I be professional and funky at the same time?

All of these worries were mulling around in my head as I went to bed that night and in the morning I received this email from Brianna:

So I was trying to categorize you least night and put together a lovely little plan but it just wasn’t working.  I took breaks, I looked at more pictures, I even left the house to clear my head: nothing!  I could not figure your style out for the life of me.  So then I went to bed, and I dreamed of you.  no joke.  And you know what I realized?  YOU ARE NOT CATEGORIZABLE!  You, Karina, are the first client I’ve ever had who defies category.  You’re amazing!!!  The only other person like that is me, ha!

So here’s what I’m going to do: today I work on the guts of Karina style.  Cool, sophisticated, creative, fun, and a little vintage.  I’m hoping to finish today, but wanted to update you.  Oh, and I found some vintage pieces of mine I’d love for you to try on.  This is gonna be SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!
I have to admit that my ego LOVED this email!  I thought, “Yes! I’m uncategorizable! I knew it!”  Don’t we all want to be unique?  After spending some time mulling over said worries and this follow-up email, I started to feel the excitement of a fresh start.  A new, mature, professionally minded, powerful, ready for anything woman!  Me?!?!  Yes, me!  It took me long enough to get to adulthood but I feel that it’s happening and it’s happening in a mindful and beautiful way that doesn’t compromise the creativity, curiosity, and laughter of my childhood years.
Brianna gave me so much more than I bargained for.  It’s not just about a new wardrobe or getting rid of a few items, it’s a clean sweep and a new start meeting me right where I am and supporting my growth.  I even got my own Pinterest board that she set up.  What an awesome way to be supported through the journey.
Our deepest fear
What Would Audrey Wear? – Web.  Facebook. Pinterest
Vicki McLeod – Maturity, Mindfulness, Coaching, Consulting (the social chick too!):  Web. Facebook. Twitter
Karina Cebuliak
Designer, Web Architect, Social Media Marketer & Trainer – Social Chick too!

Facebook Zero: Doing Business on Facebook – What Now?

Cats Against Facebook Zero You may have heard this new term that’s emerged: “Facebook Zero”.  Facebook Zero refers to a state on the social media behemoth where you have zero organic reach for pages.  This has been the trend in recent Facebook algorithm changes and now Facebook has rolled out yet another change that will affect the way your page reaches it’s target audience.

The new changes will affect the way your page content gets delivered and seen by users not already vastly engaged with your content.  It used to be that “likes” on posts were one of the defining factor of how popular your posts were and how much action you got.  That has not been the case for awhile now so businesses have been scrambling to find new ways to engage their customers and get their content to a wider audience.

Facebook ads have become more popular but businesses were also trying to create engaging posts to garner “likes”, “comments”, and “shares”.  With the new algorithm change (fresh off the press as of this week), the new goal is shareable content. Facebook received feedback from users that they no longer want to see every time their friends are liking and commenting on Pages they are otherwise not engaged with.  The only way to increase your Pages organic reach then, is to empower and enlist your audience to share your amazing content.  When individuals share your content, it has a higher chance of appearing in a news feed. What does this mean to you?

“This change further underlines the need for brands to move from a broadcast focus to making themselves part of the conversation. With this update, Facebook is essentially saying that their users want to use the platform to interact with friends and the content they’re individually interested in, and the only way to effectively promote your pages without moving to paid ads is to generate conversation amongst people independent of your properties. That’s obviously easier said than done, but the principle for Facebook marketing remains that you need to create great content, you need to listen to what your audience wants and is responding to, and you need to become part of those conversations in order to attract more direct interactions with individuals and ensure your brand is part of any relevant conversations.”

“Having people speak on your brand’s behalf is the best way to ensure you’re maximising Facebook reach – this is why employee advocacy is becoming a big focus, because who better to speak on behalf of your brand than those who live it everyday? Happy, engaged, socially-empowered employees can play a big part in brand awareness”  – Social Media Today

Is it time to give up on Facebook? Facebook still has over a billion active users, spanning a wide range of demographics.  If you use Facebook wisely and put the time and effort in to create something people love and can interact with, it is still worth it.  But, you know your company best and, if you track the results, you will best be able to determine if the return on investment is assisting or resisting your growth.

Take-Away Tips: 1.) Engaging Content (research what works, stop doing what doesn’t, KNOW your audience) 2.) Make it Interactive (move from just broadcasting a message to finding ways to engage online and offline) 3.) Use your Superfans (enlist people who love you and what you do – employees and/or clients to tell your story, share your content)

Back to Basics – Digital Marketing

It’s easy to get caught up in all the new trends and want to keep up with what everyone else is doing but it is important that we stick to a solid foundation first and foremost. Building relationships with our clients based on trust (@RebeccaColeman) is a solid keystone to creating any relational archway.

Marketing Basics

Back to Basics: Marketing Building Blocks

  • Have a defined goal for each social media platform. Write down your goals for each marketing channel you are on.  It’s even better if you parse those goals and look for ways of measuring their success.  Think Analytics, Reporting Tools, Survey’s, etc.
  • Consistent brand, consistent message – all marketing channels must be on the same page.  Whether you have a storefront or not, all your client touch points should be streamlined with your overall brand look, feel, and tone.  Consistently check that your brand is being managed online.
  • Listening & responding to customers based on feedback and statistics – what does well, what doesn’t?  Handle complaints promptly and with heart.  Listen to feedback and respond.  Watch your analytics and statistics to figure out what is performing well and what is not.  Be flexible and adaptable.
  • Build relationships based on trust. Nurture your relationships and they will come back to you.  Be human.  Be there for your clients.  Treat them like gold.  Instead of just trying to capture more business, love the ones you have too.
  • Know your customer, know where they are, spend your time there, whether it’s digital or not.  If 95% of your customer base is still reading the newspaper and is not on Facebook then chances are, you may not want to invest a lot of time posting on Facebook.  Not every platform is good for every business.  Know your tribe and gather where they are.
  • Collaborate with community influencers & like-minded companies.  There are lots of opportunities to collaborate with other companies or individuals.  These relationships are just like the relationships you develop with friends and clients – they are based on trust.  You may put on a fundraiser with another company or do an information session.  There are all kinds of fun ways to collaborate that are mutually beneficial.

With each new idea or marketing push, compare it against your foundation and ensure that you are building towards your goal and contributing to a trusting relationship.

We’d love to hear from you!  What building blocks do you use?


Your Social Chick,


The big selfie from #CIMC2015

Tip Top Tips from CIMC2015

The big selfie from #CIMC2015

The selfie , courtesy: Sunny Leonarduzzi

After an amazing weekend at the first annual Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in the raw beauty and majesty of Squamish, B.C., my head is full, my brain muscle stretched and my heart (yes, my heart was involved) full and happy. It was an amazing opportunity to hobnob with many of the people and experts I have connected with in the land of Social Media. I am really looking forward to Social Media Camp in May as well as next year’s already booked CIMC2016.

In the meantime here is my knowledge take-away, which I happily pass along to you. You are welcome;)

 Over-arching weekend theme:

Five main topics continued to repeat throughout the weekend, a common thread if you will. It pleases me to no end that these were the themes that were repeated because it tells me that I’m in with the right crowd, thus happy hearted:

  • Build relationships! It’s People to People, not Business to Business or Business to Consumer. We’re dealing with people.
  • Know your customer. No matter what you’re doing, get it down to a mad crazy science of knowing exactly whom you’re doing it for.
  • Data, research, stats…Rinse, Repeat. Data is important, know it, study it, learn from it, and be better. If you don’t know how or don’t have the time, get someone who can and will.
  • Grow, change, adapt with the times.
  • Be kind & do good. Use your marketing power to make the world a little bit better.

There were so many great moments from CIMC that I’ve decided to have fun with it and write a series of blog posts instead of trying to explode your mind with a cornucopia of my fan favorites.   Throughout the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about the BEST of CIMC2015 – think BEST of SNL but without Lorne Michaels (well, without any of those cast members…we shall have our own). I’ll try not to reminisce like a giddy schoolgirl back from summer camp but full disclosure, that’s how I feel so it may come out here and there. I look forward to blogging again soon with the top tips from the Panel speakers.

Oh! Guess what else?! Jelly Marketing and Marwick Internet Marketing along with many others have put together a Certified Digital Marketing Certificate!  Check it out and register for Beta. 

Until then, make it a great day!


Karina Lauren Cebuliak

Social Poaching: Reducing Friends to Fans and Followers

THE TIMES: Feb. 19, 2015 by VICKI MCLEOD

In her book The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World, author Christina Crook poses the question: “What are people for?” She poses it in the context of online relationships and whether or not we see other people simply as consumers. Her book is thought-provoking and challenges us to think about whether the arms-length nature of digital communications is removing us from meaningful engagement and ultimately, what it means to be human.

Her insights are timely. As the digital and social media space becomes more crowded, we are forced to ask ourselves what are the ethical, social and cultural norms that will govern our behavior online? Where are the boundaries?

Most of us in the field adhere to a core set of principles grounded in transparency and authenticity, and teach businesses and individuals we work with to apply fundamentally the same social ‘rules’ and etiquettes online as we’d apply offline. What’s different in business is that we are not used to this level of transparency.

Social media has heralded not only a new way to communicate, but also a very different way to do business. A tension is emerging around the application of traditional business tactics in this new medium.


Recently, a crop of tactics have emerged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that could be considered ethically dubious, or at least inauthentic. In short form, we call it friend- or social-poaching. A familiar term from junior high school days, but with potentially more serious implications than hurt feelings or social exclusion when it comes to business.

Essentially, it is a Friends-of-Friends strategy to gain more likes, fans and followers to increase access to potential market and grow email contact lists. It involves monitoring the feeds of influential friends and strategically liking and commenting in online conversations followed by a direct friend request. Usually a canned or packaged invitation is sent via a private message to your personal profile or business page asking for more direct engagement. Largely, these interactions are initiated solely for the purpose of eventually making a sale.

It’s a kind of network marketing that can be very effective. But is it right?  Many in the field don’t endorse this tactic as a way of building relationships online. It takes advantage of genuine trust and real relationships built on shared personal or professional interests.

Given the power and reach of digital ecosystems, not only are friends vulnerable, but so are hard-earned business contacts, particularly those that happen to be friends, too. Because your social media feed is the point of introduction, you essentially become complicit in reducing your friends to the status of consumers.

According to Ronald Sharp, a professor at Vassar, “… social poaching stems from an inappropriate or distorted view of what friendship is. It views friendship as a zero-sum game, or as an attempt to maximize your resources. It converts the natural generosity of friendship into a kind of investment.”

Me, I’m in favour of an abundance of generosity, along with openness, trust and transparency, and I prefer not to reduce friends and clients to simply fans and followers. Which brings us full circle to the question we must ask ourselves, in this wired world: What are people for?

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick , the  host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She is a speaker at the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in March, and is happy to answer your social media or business questions. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca