“Nearly four in 10 Britons regularly skip breakfast at home with many admitting they are too busy on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter or catching up on emails.”
I’ve always felt ambivalent about “social media”.
I mean, how important is it really? And are our actions and behaviours aligned with our answer to the question?
I also wonder whether all the effort going into this can’t be put to better use.
Matt Henderson’s post expressed many of my reservations.
Here’s a long quote:
“Soon I was following several newsgroups, and before long I experienced the first feelings that we’re probably all familiar with these days — that a huge amount of possibly useful information was being continually exchanged, and that missing even a day of it could leave one hopelessly behind. There was a larger social audience than accessible in my real-life world. There were those who were considered authorities, and getting their attention felt like an elevating accomplishment.
Little by little, my productivity began to suffer. Somehow I found myself having difficulty focusing and getting as deeply involved in my projects. The furtherest suspicion on my mind was that it might have something to do with the energy I was expending in following the newsgroups.
“I read my RSS feed over breakfast, and then catch up on Twitter over coffee. Twitter stays active all day long, continually grabbing my attention.
“I start to notice that even while concentrating, pauses in thought — for example, hitting a conflict while defining some project specifications — seems to trigger a desire to switch into Twitter, almost like it’s a relief to active thinking and problem-solving.
“And at the end of the day, I have a feeling of uneasiness, of dissatisfaction, a little anxious. Rather than engage in reflection, though, I check my feeds. And Facebook. And Twitter, again.
“I also begin to wonder whether the reasons I communicate, in the online context, have changed. Do I really have something to say, or am I just tryingto have something to say? Why am I reaching to jump into that conversation? Is because they’re influentials, and I want to be seen a part of theirconversation? Why did I reply to that person’s comment to me, but not the other’s? Is it because I know people are looking? Am I becoming influenced by the superficial pull of status? Are we really socially interacting, or are we more like living window mannequins, maintaining a carefully crafted expression, position and always seeking notice of those passing by?”
Email addiction is wide-spread in corporate environments. Scientific studies suggest that clinical addiction is somewhere around the 12-15% mark of employees.
Some people declare email a pest and go on to say that workplace communication & collaboration should go entirely social instead.
However, email has some advantages over social technologies, which so far haven’t been matched.
- It’s the norm.
The email inbox is (still) the corporate standard as well as individual preference for most employees. If the vast majority of your colleagues use email for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, decision-making (including seeking approvals), and so on – why would you deliberately distance yourself from that?
Email provides information permanency and quick retrieval. You have (searchable) folders where you archive your project communication, customer files, etc.
Email systems integrate with other office tools. For example, in Outlook you can easily update your to-do lists and create calendar entries.
- Tracking & auditing.
Email lets you track the status of sent messages (e.g. receive “read notifications”) and have an audit trail in case something goes wrong. Remember the Enron Corpus? (A large database of over 600,000 emails generated by 158 senior employees.) Just be happy this communication wasn’t a bunch of Facebook “likes” and quick status updates.
- Learning by writing.
Email invites you to be more reflective and articulate your thoughts more fully. There aren’t any space restrictions and text formatting functionality is available; try highlighting a word in bold on the likes of Twitter or Facebook.
- Sharing documents.
Email lets you share documents efficiently with a carefully selected target audience. This is much harder to achieve with social technology.
Lastly, social technology provides no less of an incentive to multitask than conventional email. If anything, it scatters one’s attention across multiple communication & collaboration tools, each of which are compellingly designed with the sole aim of “grabbing eyeballs”. It doesn’t help solve the issues of compulsive, uncontrolled email usage.
Ergo, in my view, email is here to stay in the foreseeable future – at least until social technologies catch up. (By that time my guess is that they’d look like email.)
We better learn how to use email effectively, rather than burn it at the stake.
Deleting my Facebook account a couple of weeks ago was a nice step in the right direction.
It’s now time for another change.
The morning run.
As of now, I’ll do my runs in the quiet hours just after sun-rise.
I can anticipate many benefits.
Great article by Arianna Huffington.
“There is no work-life balance. We have one life. What’s most important is that you be awake for it.”
We live in a world that says: “Choice is great. But more choice is even better.”
I first started to question this paradigm when I observed a kid who was overwhelmed with toys.
The poor lad tried to take in his surroundings for a moment. Spent a few seconds with one toy, then a few seconds with the next, and so on. He didn’t seem to enjoy himself. He never got around to actually playing.
Eventually he completely froze and cried.
The way adults would deal with sensory overload, it seems to me, is not fundamentally different.
We get confused. We get diverted from what’s really important. Ultimately, we crack.
US President Obama said the following in a Vanity Fair interview last year:
You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinise yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.
Sure he has a point.
Even though we usually are not aware of it, choice may do us more harm than good. Better tread carefully.
It must be true because it’s in the paper….
The Daily Mash reported the following:
Most people don’t have any potential
THE majority of people are already doing things as well as they can, it has emerged.
Research by the Institute for Studies found that despite society’s obsession with ‘nurturing potential’, there was virtually nothing out there to be nurtured.
Professor Henry Brubaker said: “Most of us are not geniuses – in fact, not even close.
“Rather than brimming with unexploited talent, we exist in a state of fully realised mediocrity.”
Professor Brubaker found that however many training courses people were sent on by their employers, they always returned unchanged.
He said: “The corporate obsession with ‘creativity’ is particularly futile.
“History dictates that people with great creative minds tend to die penniless in a ditch at the age of about 30, by which time they are mostly syphilis and absinthe.
“Those are not the kind of people you want working at your office supplies company.
“You actually need workers who can handle doing something really, really boring every day without actually going insane.”
Interesting piece on the value of “leadership training”:
I really liked this Indian school poster when I saw it a little while ago.
Your good habits may be different, but it’s helpful to be mindful of them just the same.