Are You a Slave to Social Networking?Conscious Business, Conscious Living, Happiness Sunday, September 16th, 2012
This is not going to be an article bashing social networking or shouting from the rooftops that it’s from the devil. No, I find it an extremely helpful, if not detrimental, modern-day tool. I utilize it socially — to stay in touch with friends and family — and I use it for my business.
Social networking is a great device for spreading information and touching base. However, it can also be abused.
All too often I see people with their noses stuck to their iPods, even when they are publicly with someone else. Does anyone else find this extremely rude? What is it that keeps the populace stuck to other people’s dramas or, in some case, tedious actions? Are we craving attention? Is it the need to feel connected? Is it that ugly ego rearing its head and wanting to be seen or to compare?
Let’s Get Real
I think we will all have different reasons for using social networking but if you are finding it hard to keep those nimble thumbs off your key-pad, then let’s dive into a bit of introspection — answer these questions honestly:
- Control – do you have command over how much time you spend on social networks such as facebook or twitter, or does it have an irrepressible hold on you?
- Breaks — can you go without it for a long period of time and not be bothered? Have you ever tested yourself on this?
- Loss — do you feel disconnected if you don’t ‘plug in’? Are you just itching to be updated again? Are you feeling like you are missing out on something?
- Time – how many moments do you waste scouring news feeds only to find that 2 hours have passed and you have not really found anything of true value?
- Question — how are you using it? Is it benefitting you in some way? Or is it serving as a distraction? Or both?
- Limits — can you set yourself boundaries and time limits?
- Trimming —Hone down who and what you give your energy to. Are you wasting a lot of time on engaging in a drama that really doesn’t involve you? Are you helping or fueling the situation? Or are you just filling empty space?
- Clarity — are you using facebook for friends and people you actually know? Or do you befriend any Tom, Dick and Harry that requests your precious time? Get clear about which social networks are for what. In other words, use facebook or twitter to stay in touch with interesting people, friends and family and sites like LinkedIn and facebook business pages for your associates, promotions and dealings. Be clear about the reason you are using these sites and don’t just give your time away willy-nilly.
- Allocations — assign specific times to go on for personal and business use and be liable for those periods — keep to that schedule.
Rudeness Concealed as ‘The Norm’
At all costs avoid whipping out your iPad in real conversation with bona fide friends and colleagues – nobody appreciates this and you may end up losing a tangible friend or business deal for one moment of digital gratification.
The friends who are willing to meet up with you in the flesh are the ones that will be there for you when you need them. Give them your undivided attention and respect.
If someone has taken time out to be with you, they should take precedence over any electronic device that is beeping for your attention — learn to turn it off if it’s a distraction.
Take the Test
If you find that social networking is controlling you and you can’t let go, try this out:
- Alert your connections that you will be taking one weeks (or however long you feel you need) ‘vacation’ from the net.
- Hold yourself accountable for it, no matter what juicy adventures you want to share – be present with that urge to splurge and be at peace with telling no-one.
- Observe how remaining silent makes you feel – do you feel a certain tranquility or are you chomping at the bit? Really question yourself — do you truly need to share that photo of your dinner last night? Do your friends need to know how long you were at the gym this morning? Possibly not.
- If you are experiencing more calm and ease without social networking, then this exercise has worked. You will be more aware of how to limit your time dedicated to it in the future. Work out a viable timetable and stick to it.
- If you are edgy and feel anxious, then this exercise has also worked and you need to go into why you are feeling this way. Social networking has a hold over you and there is something there that needs addressing. Dig deep and follow the thread of answers to this question: Why do I feel the need to be distracted? You will be taken to the core of your inability to ‘let go’ of being in the loop about every little detail, or keeping people in the loop about every endeavor you undertake.
You Are the Center of Your Own World
When you take a break from your social networking sites, I can bet that you most likely will not be missed — however, this will not be from the lack of love your friends and associates have for you.
The reason is, in all actuality, you are not going to be the center of their worlds and they will most likely have many other diversions to keep them busy. Don’t take offense at this — it is helpfully indicative that everyone has a ‘life’. You are at the center of your revolving world and they are conducting their version of reality too — learn to honor this and be grateful when your worlds collide for the greater good.
This can give you a clearer perspective of how you identify what is important and hone down what you feel you need to distribute that will benefit others. It will aid you to ascertain what needs to be shared and what can remain private.
Call to Action
I want you to work out approximately how much time a week you spend on social networking and then compare it to your new timetable. Let us know how much time you have saved!
Use social networking responsibly and you will have the best of both worlds.