Are we sending our brains haywire with social media? When I pick up my phone after leaving it for an hour it is full of notifications for Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, text messages, Gmail, work email … so many different mediums, so many messages.
I remember when text messaging first began (yes that is how old I am) and my best friend and I used to send each other a message during the day to say hi because we hadn’t received a message all day. After spending 10 years in law firms and millions of emails later, those simple days before messages and emails on phones seem like an impossible paradise.
We don’t need all these messages, we don’t need to be endlessly in communication with everyone we ever met, yet why do we do it? Is it an addiction? Is it FOMO?
Why do we welcome the distraction from the task at hand – hold on I’m just going to check my phone to see if anyone has messaged me since I started writing this – now that I am back, I’ve broken my concentration and will need to settle back in for a few minutes to regain my stream of thought. Ah yes, concentration. What is that? Another art that we are at risk of rapidly losing.
The strange thing is that it seems we seldom sit back and think that we have a choice in when to read our messages and when to respond. Ok I hear all the professional service workers shout out in horror and yes I agree there are many work-related circumstances which require immediate responses. However even then it is possible to set boundaries for yourself. Things like not sending out emails late at night unless it is an emergency, write whatever you need to and save it as a draft to be sent first thing in the morning when you get in. Do you really want to be giving your client the impression that it is ok for them to expect you to send emails at any time of day?
Not wanting to dwell too much on how to manage work related activities, I had wanted to write this piece to encourage people to think more carefully about how they are using social media, and by that I am including all forms of messaging.
Do you let it interrupt your day, your work, your mealtimes? Do you multimedia and do other things at the same time, like walking down the street, drive or eat? In some cases this can be dangerous but just generally, when you are doing more than one thing at a time, you are generally doing both things slightly worse.
Did you just eat your scotch finger biscuit and read, this article and your Whatsapp messages at the same time? Tell me, how did that biscuit actually taste? Do you remember or were you too busy reading this article and the messages to taste the flavours?