I recently read an article from USA Today discussing how social media, emails and the like are costing companies millions a year because workers are less productive now than ever before. This isn’t a new argument. It’s been going on for years since social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace first appeared. But it is a vital one.
I definitely find myself wondering where all the time has gone every passing day and week when I feel like I haven’t gotten much done. I also feel a undescribable need to make sure I get to all my emails, status updates, blogs in Google Reader, etc. It’s almost impossible for me to sleep if I see a number greater than 5 glaring at me in my inbox. With advancement in technology, specifically smartphones, I feel more compelled than ever before to check all my social media and internet stuff. Prior to having a smartphone I would only check at night when I got back home from work and occasionally during work on my lunch break. The creation of the smartphone has made me connected to all these distractions 24/7.
There are some days when I’m able to disconnect myself from my phone and not think about it at all. It was especially easier when I had deleted my Facebook account two times before. But social media isn’t going away anytime soon. We must learn to adapt to this new distraction as we have with others in the past (radio, tv, video games, etc). The novelty of constantly tweeting has definitely worn off a bit for me. Though newer check-in apps like Foursquare and GetGlue have recently made me get in the habit of tweeting my every whims, I have gotten a better grasp of them and only use them more seldom now. Moderation is the key as it always is for all things fun and distracting.
I remember when the Internet first became more visual-friendly in ’95 and dial-up was pretty much the norm for most Internet users. Around this time, unless you had AOL or AIM, the only other way you could communicate with others on the Internet (if you had a t1 line) was through telnet and/or ICQ. Nowadays, in the world of broadband, there are so many different ways to communicate with people. Chat rooms and chat applications still exist but now you also have web 2.0 sites such as myspace, facebook and twitter to name a few. I have re-created log-ins on a few of them but the social network tool that seems to have gotten me the most captivated are forums, specifically the forum in the Keith and The Girl website.
According to wikipedia web forums have existed since 1996. Apparently I was oblivious to them until more recently. I guess I’m sort of old-fashioned when it comes to technology but I just feel that there is more camaraderie and interaction in a web forum then in myspace, twitter or facebook. In those other three I really only look for people that I know and just try and keep in touch with them; whereas, on a web forum I have a discussion of ideas, however trivial, with absolute strangers and develop new relationships from there. At least, those are my two cents. I’m sure there are others who disagree with my sentiments.
After trying Twitter out for a few days, I realized that it just wasn’t for me. For the first few days it was sort of exciting and I couldn’t stop checking every few minutes to see what new tweets were being displayed on my page. I even tried, not to successfully, to make communication with a number of podcasters that I followed on a regular basis. When a few did respond, I couldn’t stop myself from grinning idiotically. I even had complete strangers start following me on Twitter because of of the people I was following. It was strangely flattering.
However, because none of my friends were on twitter, the lack of the personal connection that I was used to with social networks was nonexistent. Also, I was spending needless time on Twitter as well as myspace. So with these thoughts, I decided to cut myself off all of them cold turkey. Until I have something to really market, or I have more friends, I I just don’t have the need for any social networks.