Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today's overwhelming sense of needing to be connected

Today, like never before, people have an overwhelming sense of needing to be connected. It would seem to be that everywhere you go people are glued to their mobile phone or a similar type of device. Even devices which are switched to silent are constantly vibrating with new updates.  Questions such as the following need answers:

  • What's the latest comment on my timeline?
  • Who's now friends with who?
  • What's currently trending, what am I missing out on?
  • What kind of reaction did my latest comment get? Who saw it?

Before getting out of bed in the morning, most people have already checked social networks for updates. They may have already posted how they're feeling today. Not only that, but they're often sleep deprived from staying up the night before, glued to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

For a lot of people, the ability to access social networks from their place of work is somewhat restricted. Believe it or not, studies have shown that this causes a certain amount of anxiety and stress. It's not that people can't do without their mobile phone, but they have trouble with feelings of disconnectedness.

Virtual world connections reflect real-world behaviours. People have a desire to belong. There's something very special about a sense of community, a sense of being part of something greater than yourself.

A lot of people struggle with this need to be connected. Employers often see it as a distraction. They worry, that should social networking sites be available in the workplace, people will be distracted from doing their job. However, a study carried out by the University of Melbourne found that "people who surf the Internet for fun - for less than 20% of their work time - were 9% more productive than those who don't."

It would appear that the distraction of social media and social networks is a great way for people to refresh and relax their minds. Turning away from the task at hand, for a few moments is often enough to refocus committed time to the task. Undoubtably there's still a need for discipline on an individual level.

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