It’s hard to imagine a world without hyper-connectivity. It started with mobile phones, extended into social media and at the moment, the biggest trend is telling people where you are, what you are doing AT THIS VERY SECOND AND HERE’S A MAP OF THE RESTAURANT I AM EATING AT.
I attended a Conference where people were lauding Facebook and Twitter (and related services) as a revolution in the way we communicate. Whilst this is partially true, I think that not enough attention has been given to the potential pitfalls of evangelising it.
With all of the geeky tech things like FBConnect & APIs aside, which are very exciting and allow for many possibilities, what is the real personal cost of hyperconnectivity?
This is something I have been pondering for quite a while, so for anyone thinking it’s just one event and want to say “OMFG WHAT HAPPENED?”… relaaaax. It’s not about you. Or you. Or you.
And I am not talking about the headlines that drag social media in, like “MYSPACE MURDERS!”, “TWITTER BLAH BLAH”.
What are the real, actual effects on your day?
For me, because I work in front of a screen all day and often in a browser, Facebook is just a streaming timeline of everyone’s day. Mine included. But it’s become more pervasive than that and I believe that it has started to affect my psyche. It dominates my day, it is integrated into my thoughts. It sometimes even completely wastes my day. And sometimes, I will admit that it affects me negatively.
But you know? I hit a point where I realised that at least 95% of the people on my list never commented, never contacted me, never showed any interest. And I hadn’t actually met. And I share my innermost thoughts with them more often than anywhere else. It’s not real.
And for the people that I *had* met… it changed the dynamics, where non-comments resulted in me assuming I had been hidden, or made me second-guess friendships, or made me think to end them altogether.
It’s a bit of a destructive force in the life of someone, like me, who derives energy from other people… who lives their life very much (too much) to please others, to seek acknowledgement from others… to have this medium that allows it to become my fuel.
So now, I have decided to deactivate my account for 30 days, as an experiment, just to see what happens. I am still contactable on Twitter, Email, and good old fashioned telephone. But I am just interested to see what happens. Don’t assume I have deleted you, because I haven’t 🙂
It will be interesting to see who contacts, who emails, who calls… not just as a dramatic exit and “I’m taking my ball home”, but as a truly intellectually interesting exercise to see if a) I can live without it b) any of those relationships continue outside of it and c) whether others join me.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this, too… assuming, of course, anyone reads blogs anymore (seeing as I am not posting this on Facebook! ;))