Tag Archives: Social Media

the internet of things

The internet of things

Last week I had lunch with one of my long term supplier’s we’ve known and worked with each other for over 20 years and we thought it would be nice to have a catch up. 

During our lunch we ruminated over how technology is impacting our business, which is the business of print? Online print

Strange thing technology?

In less than ten years we have gone from mobiles to smartphones capable of delivering complex tasks at a touch or a swipe.

Digital technology has reshaped our lives forever.

We laughed at how we use to do things.

Faxes were used to proof text and positioning, but mostly, proofs would be run out in colour and sent via mail to the customer.

Quotes were typed using electronic typewriters and then faxed or sent by post, the biggest change was the introduction of the PC which changed everything when it came to the form design process.

cellphonesThere were no emails for communication it was either fax or, you would make a call which was invariably quicker.

The phone call would inevitably lead to more work, an appointment or lunch.

In fact the business of print was largely transacted in the pub over a pie and a pint.


Who does lunch anymore?

Mobile phones offered a major breakthrough in communications for sales reps.

There was no need to find a phone box or ask the receptionist at the company you were visiting if you could quickly make a call.

Life was simple and less fraught.Memory Lane in Sepia

Digital technology has done more than affect the gadgets we now take for granted, it has changed the way we work.

BYOD (Bring your own device) is a great example how we now interact with the world.

Sharing information has never been easier from social media, print, cloud and multi-channel we live on the super fast highway overflowing with content, ideas, and innovations.

You can look up anything on google and the search will return any number of suggestions.

If you want or need to find out something, or want to understand how a component works, google it and up pops the answer.

We have become intolerant of anything analogue a slow PC or laptop, poor broadband or a 4G connection is enough to make me want to throw my laptop against a wall such is my limited patience in this fast paced world of ours.

I demand speed and access and I want it now.

Compare the speed with which emails can be pinged to the time when we sent faxes or compare SD to HD television?

Mobile devicesThe impact of these technological changes cannot be underestimated and we take it for granted that ‘it just works’.

Our smartphones now have more processing power than the average PC giving us more speed so we can get things done quicker.

Remember when estimated delivery dates were just that ‘estimated’ in the pre-digital world customers were happy to accept an approximate delivery.

In our digital world we order online and we demand definitive delivery schedules.

Speed and technological progress for consumers has resulted in our demands and expectations being higher and as companies have offered an even better level of service so our expectations have risen accordingly.

Digital media, online accessibility has had a huge impact on our lives making content, ordering online and searching easy.

Imagine the perversity of not actually being chained to our gadgets?

My supplier colleague said she isn’t on Facebook refuses to chatter on Twitter and uses her mobile phone for just that, making calls.

I marvelled at how she didn’t feel in the least bit FOMO, (fear of missing out) after all bad news does have a tendency to get to you quicker as indeed good news, ‘so why do I need to be chained to my phone’, she exclaimed.

The internet probably took ten years to become an essential and basic tool for our everyday life and I wonder how the world would look without its existence.

No cloud storage for data, photos and music on the go.

Future technological innovations will happen a lot faster and whilst Facebook is now considered prehistoric with Snapchat and Instagram taking over what will be the next app that we can’t live without?

By 2020, it is estimated that there will be 50bn internet enabled devices (Ericsson, Vision 2020, 50 billion connected devices, Feb. 2011) Those devices will become interconnected into a web of the ‘internet of things’.

A future where an ‘intelligent fridge’ can self replenish by ordering online.

The rise in digital channels has generation Y permanently plugged in to their online world.

They are already part of the acceleration of the new digital world.

Social media conceptThey are influencing the development of technologies around them they are changing their lifestyles to fit around the ever advancing world of technology and they will not accept any brand, social media channel or organisation they work for who don’t do the same.

If a social media platform or web site doesn’t satisfy their needs they will quickly explore and exploit another.

They are a generation that understand what it is to collaborate online, how to interact on social media, they are digitally and globally aware and understand the power of being connected.

Because of them they are dictating the speed of future digital communications and are developing different social behaviours that will be transmitted to future generations.

I love new technology and, I can’t live without it. I’m always looking at the latest gadget trying to justify why I should buy it and, if I can use it.

There is downside to digitisation.

I was saddened to hear my elder son talk about his dislike of reading books. Why I asked; ‘because I lose interest after a few chapters’.

He has a lot of contextual reading for A level study part of the process of acquiring the knowledge needed for the subjects.

One night he said he was going to bed early, a first in my lifetime, and I suggested he read a book rather than listen to music.

‘Why do I want to read’ he said, my eyes furrowed, ‘because you get lost in a book, it helps you relax makes your fall asleep before bed and it is one of the greatest forms of relaxation’.

I am lost in books and I try to imagine how the ending will turn out, tempting as it is to read the end.  

But I hold out to find out how the story unfolds. I love the use of language and words and, when the world is collapsing around me I find my escape in reading.

One of my resolutions this year was to read more books and so far I am doing well I’m on my fifth I am aiming to read one a month, often I have two or three on the go.

It is almost perverse owning a book while online is accepted as the norm.

I am disappointed that I have been unable to pass on my love of reading to my children but, it is a changing world and I am reminded of one of my favourite all time sci-fi movie franchises ‘The Terminator’.

A stark reminder that if technology continues gathering pace at the speed it is, enjoying the simple things in life like reading may well be confined to the annals of history.

As our world becomes solely reliant on new technologies, we could forget that the simple things in life are often the sweetest.

 

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My six weeks of digital detox

There isn’t a day that goes by without reading the future of communications is digital and interactive, heck, I should know I am in the business of delivering communications in the form of payslips, letters, invoices, cheques, statements sent to customers either in digital or paper format.Digital detox

Earlier this year I felt I had reached online overload. The internet, social media, blogging, Instagramming, Facebooking I felt overwhelmed and under so much pressure because being online is an important aspect of business marketing.

I needed a digital detox.

When the school summer holidays finally arrived I made the decision to go offline.

Oddly it wasn’t even a conscious decision more a case of I just couldn’t be bothered or see the point, I had lost all desire and I really wanted to get away from the falseness of social media and shut down.

iStock_000012614300XSmallI read dozens of articles about how too much time being online and in front of a screen are bad for you and so I thought I would share with you what I did as I tried to get off the so called social media treadmill and re-energise my life.

My eldest son and my husband noticed an improvement in their eyesight because they were spending more time outside rather than stuck in front of a screen for 8-10 hours’ a day.

My decision was vindicated when I happened to find Ofcom’s communications market report which in a nutshell described how internet users were becoming tired of being online.

This report validated my choice of staying offline during the summer holiday.

According to the report 15,000,000 of us have undertaken a ‘digital detox’ with the report highlighting the need for people to seek time away from the internet and spend time with friends and family.

One in three adult internet users (34%) has sought a period of time offline, 25% spent up to a day internet free, 20% took a week off and 5% went web free for almost a month.

According to the report many people had said that being offline was liberating.

I can certainly vouch for that after all, this isn’t world breaking news.

social media = an always on culture
Our work and lifestyle means we are always on

Getting away from online digital distractions and having the opportunity of an extended summer holiday allowed me to get in touch with the real world.

I fell out of the everyday work routine and made a few changes which, had a huge beneficial impact on my mind and body.

Running a business does not give you the option of turning everything off. Customer emails and calls need to be responded too, a complete ‘digital detox’, in other words, turning everything off completely isn’t feasible.

Faster internet access enables us to be better connected than ever before, three in four of internet users (75%) consider the web intrinsic to their everyday lives and adult users in the UK spend an average of one day per week, approximately 25 hours online.

59% of internet users consider themselves compulsively connected to their devices and 34% find it difficult to disconnect.

I had unwittingly become one of those compulsive phone checkers, grabbing the phone every time it pinged.

Everything we do has an effect on us either physically, mentally and emotionally.

In Noel Janis-Norton’s book “Calmer, Easier, Happier Screen Do you have a favourite child?Time” she highlights the negative effects of screen time on children, she writes:

“Screen time is one aspect of our children’s lifestyle that parents worry about the most and often feels powerless to do anything about.

Children are affected by every aspect of electronics: how much screen time they have, what they are doing in front of the screen, when and where they do it and with whom. All of these factors will influence a child’s mood, her behaviour, what she thinks about herself and her family, her friends and her teachers.”

Although the book primarily talks about screen time for children; the same really is applicable to adults.  We are more likely to be in front of a screen and online for significantly longer periods during the working day than children.

  • Too much screen time means we are more sedate, we move less, we burn less calories and this has resulted in us being overweight and unfit than the last generation.
  • Nutrition is affected, screens are absorbing which leads to mindless eating of junk food. It is much easier to grab high sugar, high fat snacks rather than make a nutritious meal.
  • Being on the screen for longer than four hours results in lower levels of well being
  • Screen use affects the brain like a drug to the point where we are demotivated to do anything else other than stay in front of the screen

And I had fallen into the same additive, compulsive routine of being online from the moment I wake up ‘checking in’ to going to bed and ‘checking out’.

Omnipresent, but, in reality I wasn’t ‘there’ it took this summer vacation to make me realise how much I overuse technology.

Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (7 of 10)Over use of the internet – reading my daily online newspaper, magazines, flitting through Pinterest, Facebook timelines, posting on Twitter and uploading photos to Instagram even going to the loo with my iPad in tow.

What made my internet overuse more evident was my children’s apparent lack of interest and attention because they too were absorbed with their devices.

Rather than switching everything off I developed a digital routine for the holidays which, has now become part of my working life habit.

  1. Check emails first thing when rising in the morning, lunchtime and finally after the evening meal. I worked in the morning before heading to the beach between 1-2PM. Now I am home I am following the same routine but am now back at work.
  2. I chose to stay off social media altogether only posting fun things to Facebook and Instagram but allowed myself the occasional timed 15 minutes online(approximately 5 times in 6 weeks) when I would check notifications and respond to any conversation I thought was interesting or funny. Now I am back at work I still haven’t gone back online fully but my intention is to do 20 minutes whilst I cook the evening meal. This routine does not disrupt my working day and ensures that I don’t get absorbed by social media wasting work time.
  3. I muted the phone and set it on vibrate so I couldn’t hear the notification ping but would know if there was a call. This hasn’t changed other than when I am available I will turn the mute button off.

What changed for me?

I read four books, caught up on reading a whole host of other stuff, had many conversations on the beach with my family when we walked, I exercised daily, cleared my mind out fully, discovered and now use a great app called ‘Headspace’.DeathtoStock_EnergyandSerenity4-672x372

I had changed. I feel more calm and relaxed than I have done in a long time. I regrouped, reconnected with the real world, had face to face conversations and heated discussions, I telephoned customers and friends instead of emailing and saved a heap of time.

Digital detoxing is like being on a diet, you work hard to achieve your desired weight only to start back on the bad eating habits once you reach your goal.

Totally switching off from the internet and the online world is impractical, I would love to, permanently, save for ordering from Amazon.

There are more advantages to using the internet than there are disadvantages, the key is breaking the habit so it doesn’t seep into your life insidiously, like kicking a smoking habit, small steps that are sustainable and achievable.

Like many of you I thought that “I really didn’t use the internet that much, not really, but I did”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Social media and teenagers?

We all think we know everything there is to know about social iStock_000022436179Smallmedia after all, most of us spend some time either on facebook, twitter, instagram or a combination of some or more of the social networks. 

Many parents are concerned about social media and teenagers, how to manage what their teens are doing when they are on social media.

It’s hard enough being a parent in 2015 and then factor in the allure of social media and the need for always being connected and no wonder we fret over the safety of our children.

I have friends who have absolutely no interest in social media whatsoever and others who spend a large part of their day posting updates whether it is for personal or business use.

DeathtoStock_Medium6I am also a parent that worries about the impact of technology on our children and what the long term effects are.

With all this pressure of wanting to do the right thing and living in a constant state of fear for our childrens safety, it would be easier to turn your back, pretend that social media is no big deal and assume that our children are safe.

The fact of the matter is, social media is a big black gaping hole and if you are not careful it’s very easy to fall into it without understanding the good and the bad.

As a parent of two I do remind my boys about the implications of posting an emotional outburst on Facebook; for every action there is a consequence, I have tried to drill this into them as part of their upbringing.

At least once a month I come back with posts I’ve read on the DeathtoStock_Medium10internet about teenagers falling foul, befriended by undesirables or suspended from school because of some ‘harmless’ messaging between two pupils over a teacher they disliked.

Whilst I can point out the pitfalls of social media I can’t always protect them so I try to share my knowledge and show them how I use social media in the hope that they do understand and use it carefully and wisely.

This is not a ‘how to post’ but rather an insight into how I’ve worked with my boys who are 15 and 11 years and what I’ve tried to do to ensure their safety on the internet and social media.

iStock_000017041643SmallWhen I found out that my eldest son had set up his facebook account at the tender age of 12 to say I was unimpressed would be way off the mark.

His response was ‘I will be thirteen in five months.’

But that’s not the point.

Facebook’s algorithms enable them to display adverts and messages suitable for the age of the user so in my case, adverts that are relevant to me according to gender, likes, age and background will pop up as adverts.

This information is obtained once you’ve consented to setting up your account.  From that information facebook know your age, background, your likes and this in turn creates a profile of you which can then be used by facebook to display advertisements.

After I had discovered why my son had gone ahead and violated the terms of facebook’s age of consent, I asked him why he did it?

Apologetically he explained that his friends had accounts and he didn’t want to miss out.

It was also FOMO the fear of missing out and I’ve talked about that here.

The downside of him being on facebook at that age was that he wasn’t emotionally mature to deal with often harmless but pointed comments, there were times when he was upset because someone had poked fun at him or had uninvited him to a party – the usual stuff that besets hormonally charged teenagers.

After a six month period where I had to enforce a time restriction, the allure factor waned and he spent less time and reserved his updates and online time for the weekend.

That was three years ago and now he uses it fairly infrequently. At the time he succumbed to massive peer pressure and felt the need to be part of the crowd.

Having the knowledge made me less fearful than if I had no idea of how it all works. When I chat about what I’ve been doing on social media, or posts I find interesting I share them with my boys.

My feeling is that knowledge is power so if I can share as much with them they will reciprocate. I also want them to feel that they can come to me if they get into trouble unwittingly through a rogue comment or being tagged.

Teenagers are fearful if they are caught doing something wrong and the natural thing is not to tell parents because they feel shame, they worry about having their phones or tablets confiscated so it’s easier to keep quiet.

We are all busy parents and if you know they are safe indoors interacting with friends online it’s the easy option to leave them without really understanding what they might be doing.

Social media communication conceptNew technologies have always created fears because we don’t understand what the benefits are and it is easier to deride social media as something bad and not look for the positives.

But like any kind of parenting, moderation is a good example for children, if they see you staring at the phone or tablet then they are brought up thinking this is the norm. If they never see you reading a newspaper or a book how can they be expected or encouraged to do the same?

I have put together my list of handy tips that I think have helped with my children when it comes to social media:-

  1. Invite them to show you what games they are playing and play a game with them so you understand how it works even if it is mind blowingly dull or involves shooting people it is an opportunity to understand, connect and share your thoughts without them feeling you are invading their privacy. The same for social media get them to show you what they are doing and if you are also on social media share with them what you do as well.
  2. Ask them to show YOU things that you might not know. I learnt something about instagram the other day that I genuinely didn’t know. It’s a great way of saying that you are interested in what they are doing.
  3. Speak to them about ‘porn’. It’s the dreaded word in the english dictionary but we can’t brush it aside. Before they go online, explain they might see nasty images or graphic content that way you are helping them understand why you might be worried for them.
  4. Set time limits – I’m a big advocate of this and I have been known to remove a phone or tablet for a week if I feel one of them is putting instagram or facebook before homework. I suggest to them that if they want to go online they do it when they’ve finished homework and I agree with them a time limit of no more than 30 minutes, I then set a timer on my iphone so it reminds me to then make sure that they’ve stuck to the time limit.
  5. Who should they be friends with? I tell my children that being ‘friends’ only with friends is probably the best way to start. I network a lot and connect with people on Linkedin but I dont ‘friend’ them on facebook, they are not friends and so why would I? It’s the same for them, if in doubt I ask them how do you know this person, have you met them and are you likely to go out with each other in the future if the answer is no then don’t connect. Unless there is a good reason too. An example of this can be a person you don’t know liking a photo on instagram and then inviting you join their group on facebook or google plus. Your teenager might find themselves in an undesirable or unsuitable group.
  6. Ask to follow them or ‘friend’ them. There is a tendency to think that children don’t want us to know what they are doing, what they share and who they are doing it with but it doesn’t mean they want privacy from you. My boys regularly text their grand-parents in fact they taught them how to text.  If they are in school they can’t make calls. Seven out of ten people have parents as friends on facebook so why not just ask them, if they say no explain why you want to be connected with them, if they say no again then respect their wishes.
  7. Teach them the consequences if they post illegal or illicit content – once it’s posted it can’t be deleted or retrieved. Help them  understand that this might come back on them later in life when they are looking for a job, it will help them think before they write.
  8. Bullying is a no ono. It’s tempting for your child if they are being bullied at school to use social media as a means of getting back at the bully, don’t. Firstly they can unfriend or unfollow and secondly you can inform the school to get something done about it.
  9. Never say bad things about teachers or anyone for that matter – as tempting as it is, if they are having a bad time with a teacher or they’ve been told off, it is very tempting to share how you feel about that teacher with friends. Don’t let them.
  10. Finally teach them the positives of social media staying in touch with friends that move away, learning and sharing ideas and that it can a really fun and great way to be connected with people.

There is more that can be added to the list and I also know that you can do all or some of the above and they will still act hastily but at least by talking with them and understanding what they are doing it alleviates some of the worry of what they could be doing whilst you’re downstairs having that coffee or glass of wine.

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Is it time to cut back on social media?

Our social media world has become so inextricably linked to our personal lives that we may well be in danger of losing our identity.Is it time to cut back on social media?

We have never shared so much information – tweeting, instagramming, facebooking but are we sharing the truth? We embellish our lives carefully editing what’s important and in some way making it sound more exciting than it really is because we want our lives to be seen as fun and successful.

We don’t admit to boredom and unhappiness in jobs or relationships or the stress and anxieties we feel and yet we believe that everyone else’s updates are more exciting than our own.

When was the last time you read a really negative status update?

It can come as a relief when we find that the lives of others aren’t as great as we first thought and in spite of us overestimating the fantastic lives of the celebs we follow, when revelations unfold that their life may not be all that it’s cracked up to be it actually makes us feel better.

We can relate to that famous person because they have the same problems you and I have therefore it makes it more real.

Studies have shown that endless exposure to the success of others means that facebook users tend to be prone to isolation, jealousy and depression.

Sherry Turkle in her book “Alone Together” describes ‘a virtual world where you get to build an avatar, a house a family and a social life, a place to love your body, love your friends and love your life.

Is it time to cut back on social media?Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.’

We’ve become dependent on a virtual world that makes us seemingly perfect to those who connect with us but in reality we have all the human foibles and insecurities as the next person.

Last year I wrote about social media addiction but I do wonder if we have reached the saturation point or social media overload. I’ve been active on social media for four years. I was late to the party but I come from a generation that held conversations either face to face or on the telephone and not in an online digital world.

Social media is used primarily for business to promote our brand and get our content messages out to a wider audience.

I admit that I cannot post status updates on my personal life and am rather coy at lambasting my plain and rather unexciting life on the social media platforms but I am a great sharer when it comes to business.

I feel uncomfortable about posting what I’m doing every hour of the day or what exciting or horrible thing has happened to me.

When I was feeling really ill recently and languishing at home all I wanted was some ‘tea and sympathy’ I could have easily posted my status update as ‘ill, in need of sympathy and kind words’ and no doubt I would have had a favourable response but I guess it just isn’t me.

Forget FOMO (fear of missing out), its FOBLA – fear of being laughed at.Is it time to cut back on social media?

Why do I want to disclose what I’ve eaten for breakfast, which coffee I prefer and what fashion high heels I’m wearing today?

Who really cares or is bothered about my status updates or anyone elses for that matter? True friends maybe, but the rest of the world couldn’t care less about what I’m wearing today or how wonderful my holiday is.

Social media platforms afford a great way to vocalise your thoughts and opinions. It’s searchability means you can find information on any subject you can think of from actors, celebrities, books, and music.

You can follow, like, pin your favourites in the comfort of your armchair.

No one needs to know that you like to bungee jump without any knickers on or that your passion is collecting stamps.

Social media has its purpose and gives us a whole new way of connecting and communicating in this modern world and while it has outlasted it’s fad stage it has become integrated into our personal and business lives.

Smartphones, tablets, laptops and the internet are not going away anytime soon, in turn this will fuel our need for connecting, for staying in touch and for always being on.

Our society and way of life makes great demands on us and social media makes it easier to stay connected to the world.

I admit that the need to post updates to promote messages, blogs and schedule tweets is at times so pressure laden that I wonder what we use to do before social media.

I find it over-stimulating and am easily distracted when I follow a stream or click on a link to something else that I never really engage with the article because there is too much information.

I’ve learnt the art of skimming an article to see if it’s worth staying the course.

Social media has made me impatient I’m rushing to get things done to respond to retweets, mentions, post updates, like, follow and add to a circle it becomes another never ending task I have to do in an otherwise hectic working day.Is it time to cut back on social media?

I’ve become more impatient at the recent changes on the various platforms notably facebook, twitter and linkedin and the time consuming redesigns required to make sure the various sites are professional.

Has social media stopped us being creative, less analytical?

Type in a keyword and up comes a whole host of information without really having to think about it. If I’m sketching out an idea or drawing a mind map rather than thinking about it and being creative I google the idea and hundreds of images pop up.

I can search on tumblr and find great creativity and then I’m distracted and forget what I went there for in the first place.

But these ideas aren’t coming from me. I have no time to sit down and be creative when there are too many other important things to get done.

We don’t know how to be on our own, still and silent without the intrusion of our smartphones going ping.

We’ve become a society that lives on fast food, with less sleep, pressured from aggressive marketing from brands that have too much influence over us, a multi-media digital world where reality and fiction have merged that it has become impossible to recognise what is real and what isn’t.

A possible future? A desensitized and depraved generation of youngsters with an attention span of less than a minute and a desire to be more twitter or facebook famous than their X-Factor counterparts or a silent, quieter world where real conversations with real people take place.

Seriously what do you think?

How do you manage your time on facebook or twitter or any other platform?

Does it help you to stay in touch or connected?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to relax? Are you kidding? Is stress a part of our everyday lives?

Relaxation is now no longer part of our culture
Relaxation a thing of the past?

Are we more stressed than we were 50+ years ago?

The 60’s with its partying, rock n roll, drugs scene, the rolling stones, the beatles a great era to work live and enjoy life the decade I was born in and the chapter of my life often relayed to me in vivid detail by my parents who described the 60s as one of those defining moments in history.

Feminism gained momentum, man landed on the moon, the cuban missile crisis, the JFK assassination and music that truly defined many of us today.

According to The Times [6th November 2013] relaxing has now become a thing of the past.

The amount of time we spend pottering around at home or actually sitting down and relaxing has fallen by half in the last five years. With the exception of sleep, we spend on average 3 hours in our homes every day, down from six hours in 2008.

A survey of 1,000 people in full-time employment found that 42 per cent leave the house as soon as they are ready in the morning and return late at night with many expressing that they had days like these at least once a week as work, business and commuting take up more time.

57 per cent of people in the survey felt they were constantly on the move and 59 per cent had to schedule to make time at home

The increasing use of technology to get more done whilst commuting represented 53 percent of workers who use mobiles, laptops and ipads to get tasks done.

These mobile devices have become intrinsically integral to our lives that people find they can’t be without them.

We spend 11 hours a day staring at screens – laptops, computer screens, smartphones, e-books and TV’s with most of the communication largely done via work on a screen.

I can categorically say that relaxation has become a thing of the past for me. My husband commented recently, I never see you sit down and relax you are always doing something.

He’s right, if it’s not working, it’s picking up the kids, cooking, washing, ironing, writing or doing something that invariably leads to the use of a device to communicate, write and read.

Often times writing emails at night is a great way to catch up on the not so important tasks.

The simple fact is we are ‘always on’.

social media = an always on culture
Our work and lifestyle means we are always on

Our society has become a living and breathing 24/7 organism. I’m sure many of us could process work through the night and still not achieve a zero inbox or complete tasks.

The 24/7 working society may make you shudder but I don’t think we are that far away from it happening and for customers to assume we never need to sleep.

Fifteen years we didn’t have the technology that allowed us to always be on and fear of missing out (FOMO) wasn’t part of our vocabulary.

Many commuters find that by the time they get to work they are ready to go home. One commuter in ten says that their morning journey is so stressful that they want to cry by the time they arrive in work, one in six sit at their desk and want to go back to bed, while one in nine feels totally and utterly miserable according to a study of 2,000 travellers undertaken by Evian. The majority of workers arrive feeling tired and down-hearted.

No wonder we’ve become a nation of stressed out over worked underpaid, self obsessed individuals.

According to psychologist Graham Price british adults are more stressed and worry more about their lives than those who lived through the blitz.

How can you compare the two historical periods?

One dominated by bombings, rations, blackouts the other dominated by the internet, social media, longer working hours and 24/7 always on.

According to Price we are more anxious and stressed than our world war two counterparts, we are consumed with fears of being unemployed, financial and relationship worries.

Stress and worry has become the cornerstone of our lives, stress is endemic.

Do you think we’ve been worn down by the everyday pressures of commuting, unrealistic demands of bosses and the treadmill way of life?

I see a time in the future where we are connected directly or indirectly via social media to pretty much everyone.

social media addict
Bit by bit we are connecting to the universe

The whole universe is slowly being connected up. Social media is rapidly extending our connections, relationships our geography. We can be in touch and always on, make new friends without ever having to meet them, we can have different identities, be different people, we can make our updates fabulously exciting even if we are at home watching the T.V but no one needs to know.

We seem to have less time than ever before and most of it is taken up with working, so much so that the LSE (London School of Economics) found that those that were in paid work are unhappy and this is closely related to work anxiety. Paid work has a slightly larger negative impact on being relaxed. How unhappy or anxious while working depends on your circumstances.

always on and always on the go
We are constantly on the run to be somewhere, there’s never any time just to think

Wellbeing at work depends on where you work, whether you are combining work with other activities; whether you are alone or with others; the time of day or night you are working; and your personal and household characteristics.

Work appears to have such an adverse effect on individuals’ well being, as if we didn’t know this!

Even though people are so positive about paid work when reflecting on the meaning and value of their lives, actually engaging in paid work comes at some personal cost to them in terms of the pressures and stress they face while working.

During periods of relaxation, working continues to be negatively associated with momentary well being in other words even when we don’t think of work, work has a negative impact upon us and we would rather be doing other things.

Is there time to relax? Or has it become a fleeting moment in our ever transitory lives.

As one aged gentleman said to me recently: “I feel sorry for your generation, you never stop, you never rest, you never seem to have time for fun. We did but we had less than you and there wasn’t the pressures on us like there is on you today. We wanted things but we had to wait until we could afford them. Your generation has everything almost, but none of you seem to enjoy what you have or enjoy life”

Makes me wonder what our children’s generation will face over the next few years?

What do you think? Are you always on? How do you make time to switch off from your job or life for that matter?

Is there a solution to all this if so please do share.

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social media addiction

Social media addiction. Do we need it or can we live with out it?

social media addiction
Social networking accounts for 25% of the time we spend online

Imagine a world without smart-phones, mobile phones, computers and laptops, social media, ipod, televisions.

24 hours without any distractions from any of the aforementioned gadgets.

No emailing, no SMSing, texting, internet access, no Facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, no music or news media.

A utopian ideal?

For some maybe but for many the reality has resulted in an over-dependency on the internet and social media for staying in touch with friends, keeping up to date with news items and checking to see what is going on in the social universe.

The very name implies to be social. Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. [Wikipedia]

Social media exists in a world that is digital where relationships are transient and superfluous where the individual is at the centre of a digital universe in which they reside.

It is a form of voyeurism, eavesdropping into another person’s world willing to share their daily tribulations. There is a compulsion to ‘check in’ and see what is going on with our ‘on line buddies’ in fact we rely on our smart phones for constant connection with the digital world.

Phone checking has become an unconscious compulsive behaviour a form of social media addiction. It feeds the need to be liked, tagged, mentioned, favourited the downside is that social media can be a lonely place to be.

Social media platforms have now become vehicles for expressing banal to deeply depraved thoughts.

In May 2010 the Mental Health Foundation released a report called ‘The Lonely Society’. 53% of 18-34 year olds had felt depressed because of loneliness compared with 32% of people over 55. Nearly a third of young people said they spent too much time communicating on line and not enough in person.

This is prevalent amongst the teenage generation where being tagged in an album ostracises a teenager leaving them feeling bereft and worthless.

Posting updates enables a person to post what they are doing, where they are going, what they ate for breakfast but is also a vehicle to inflate ones self-worth.

Social media gives a person the opportunity to share moods, events, ideas, celebrations and intimate personal details about oneself whether good or bad. It allows the individual to promote self-esteem, self-love and self-regard without fear or reproachment.

It also gives the individual the feeling that they matter to this world, that the connections they have are interested in them as a human being and provides a platform to share details that they may not share openly in conversation.

The competition for internet popularity means there is a shameless fixation on the number of ‘likes’, views, shares and +’s which in turn encourages narcissistic type behaviour whereby bragging and showing off are the mainstream in order to inflate a deflated ego.

social media addiction
Social networking accounts for 25% of our time spent on line

Are our digital friends real friends and people that we truly wish to be connected to so we can share our everyday life experiences or are they connections made only in a digital world?

Social media platforms give individuals the opportunity to get close to companies, people, brands, businesses and celebrities.

People are more connected than ever before and social networks facilitate the way people learn, communicate and interact with each other.

In the UK britons now send on average 200 texts a month compared to 70 in 2006. Calls from fixed landlines have fallen by 10 per cent to 116 billion minutes in 2011 along with mobile phone calls falling from 125 billion minutes to 124 billion minutes.

The UK is texting more than it is talking.

In the same year more than 150 billion texts were sent compared to only 50 billion in 2006. (Ofcom)

Text based communications are usurping traditional phone calls or meeting face to face. This is attributed to the demands of peoples modern lifestyle and fast track living making social media very appealing on a variety of different levels.

The other day I was in London and I watched a young mother trip over along with her pram and baby in toe. She was busy looking at her smart phone unaware of the trip hazard that lay before her on the pavement.

I went to help her and was obviously concerned about her baby who if hadn’t been strapped in could have fallen onto the pavement.

I said coyly, ‘be careful, they’ve been known to kill you, you know’ referring to the iphone she held in her right hand cupped to her right ear.

She was totally unaware of anything or anybody around her because she was so absorbed with whatever she was reading or doing on her mobile phone.

Would we rather lose our connection to the real world than our connection to our on line world?

Is the need to be socially connected and online inherent in the way we live and interact as human beings?

Does being socially connected reduce or increase our social insecurity?

Has social media addiction made us more anti-social?

It use to be considered rude to answer your phone when you were in the company of friends or worse at a business meeting. Now in business it is the accepted norm to text and send emails whilst in meetings.

Social media allows us to be connected to people without intimacy or any real association.

I see people on facebook with 1,000+ friends and I view this cynically. I may have many acquaintances that I’m connected to, share statuses with however they are not my best friends but people I know through school or other encounters.

I would not be sharing my innermost feelings in my status updates but more like a casual hi, yes the weather is great, or did you see last night…

The paradox of the networking sites like google+, facebook and twitter has lessened the need to ‘meet up’ and have a physical interaction. In reality they are digital interactions with digital connections and not human meaningful interactions.

It is easier to keep people at an emotional distance and ‘friending’, ‘liking’, texting and tweeting in 140 characters or less only reinforces that distance when picking up the telephone or meeting face to face allows the other person to become engaged and really get to know us.

Sherry Turkle, MIT Professor and author of “Alone Together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other” suggests that social media gives the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.

We are getting use to being alone ‘together’.

At breakfast time it’s common to find working couples checking in on what’s arrived in the inbox, going on to Facebook to up date statuses or dropping a quick tweet whether its business related or personal.

Recently on holiday we shared a few days with friends their eldest daughter Rebecca, 19 was with us but not really ‘there’ happily texting updating her status on facebook and twitter.

I asked her what makes it so compelling for her generation to be on social media all the time.

FOMO fear of missing out on what’s going on in her world and a great way to share updates and photos with friends.

I asked her if she felt she was a social media addict: ‘no its just what we do its the only way we stay in touch with friends and now we’ve all gone our separate ways to University, employment its the only way’.

Rebecca is a by product of our digitally obsessed world with an addiction to technology that is so beguiling that it is almost impossible to stop.

A generation of computer users capable of finding any information on google in less than a minute but incapable of being able to gather and research using traditional methods like books or libraries.

Addiction by its very name implies a total and utter reliance on something we can’t live without – drugs, gambling, sex or alcohol. The idea that social media addiction exists sounds extreme and yet a study conducted by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda and students from the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism University of Maryland, USA found just that.

In 2010 when the research was undertaken, 200 students were asked to abstain from using any form of media for 24 hours.

The responses ranged from being addicted, isolated and lonely, comments included ‘texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort’, ‘being unable to communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable’.

I admit to doing the same thing. My husband said to me when we were out one night on holiday in Spain: ‘I’m really enjoying the company of your smart phone’.

In defence my interest is largely driven by business rather than updating my own personal statuses and is easy to do in the evenings when I have some time.

Has social media made us more isolated or are we just a by product of technology?

The pace of technology has made it easy for us to be connected on line rather than meeting up physically.

Turkle makes the point ‘that with technology we can exist among a group of friends on facebook yet feel lonely because we are not known by them’.

Turkle argues that isolation was always there and technology has merely enhanced it.

Rebecca and many of her peers have developed an unhealthy relationship with social media. Like many compulsive behaviours people who engage in addictive behaviours find initial pleasure only later to develop an all consuming dependence.

My generation have had to learn how to work with this technology and how to make best use of it. We’ve become hooked to social media too we are engulfed by mass communication bombarded with texts and emails on a daily basis.

When we hear the ping that shows there is a new message we jump to attention like its all too important. We automatically respond without thinking.

It’s commonplace to be in the playground and see parents avidly looking at their phones, texting, checking in with little or no human conversation or interaction.

Perhaps it’s time to turn off, tune in and drop out for an hour a day and maybe regain some sanity.

What do think?

How do you manage your social media activity?

What about your teenagers? How do you manage the time they spend on social media platforms?

Share with us your view how you manage your time to?

If you think you are a social media addict here’s a great fun article to read by Jacky Tan.

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Social Media Addict: iPad v Husband

Social Media, addictive or a necessary evil?
Social Media, addictive or a necessary evil?

Here’s the thing it’s a little after 8:15PM and I am breaking with convention. I’ve been posting articles for One Woman’s View and I have converted my beloved to the charms of twitter, facebook and linkedin.

Its been a gradual process updating my husband with the ingenues of social media and I’m getting use to the tongue in cheek comments like “when’s the next big deal going to happen” to the sarcasm of “don’t you have anything better to do”, all you seem to do is tweet, my personal favourite, connect on linkedin or “like” on facebook.

This obsession for want of a better word has been quietly solicited by myself.

It’s empowering.

The importance of social media and personal branding cannot be underestimated.

social media addictIn the UK there are over 4,000,000 users on linkedin, 10,000,000 tweeters on twitter and a further 26,000,000 and counting facebook users; almost half of the population of the UK to put it in perspective, businesses can’t afford to ignore the impact of social media.

Social media has exploded in to our lives, its happening whether you want to be a part of it or not and if businesses aren’t embracing what it can do for their brand then within less than five years, that brand or company will be obsolete.

Online marketing and social media can be bewildering especially when you start out on the quest for “likes”, “links” and “connections” but it becomes so compelling and addictive, enough to make you want to run screaming out of the office shouting hey, what’s wrong with the old way of doing business.

The quest for online presence  is instant and beguiling, social media beckons you in with articles of interest and ambiguity, frivolous and misleading headlines designed to reel you in, it piques your curiosity, intrigue and desire.

You don’t need a good thriller to read, it’s all there on social media.

Which brings me back to my enduring love affair with my best friend beginning with a small “i”.

You see I find myself reaching for it as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, its the last thing I say good night to and it never answers back. When bouts of insomnia strike I find myself at it again at 3am in the morning.

I sneak to the W.C. with my ‘i’ friend instead of a magazine, or it can be found in the kitchen craftily hidden behind my recipe book as I pretend to read whilst really checking to see what’s going on in the my socialable world.

So you see I’ve got it bad.

I’m bitten by the SM bug, that’s SOCIAL MEDIA by the way not some other well known acronym!

Recently on my own facebook page I updated my status as follows ‘you can turn off your ipad but you can’t switch off your husband’.

So true.  But until such times as Mssrs Cook and others invent an on/off switch for husbands’ my ipad is staying well and truly on!