YES! Social media! There’s so much I can do, so many people to talk to, so many dog videos to watch and only 99 hours of Nyan Cat to go. It’s all so good – right?
If you have a spare 20 minutes or so, watch the TED Talk above. It’s a well thought out critique of today’s “connected” culture. If you don’t, here’s the break down:
Social media and the online world is going to eat your soul.
Don’t worry, I almost bought an Indiana Jones replica hat at Disneyland, so I know a little bit about escapes. I’ll show you how to get out of this if you’re brave enough. Hold onto your undies, this could get a little crazy.
Three steps to social media freedom.
Ok, here we go. You can do this – I have faith in you. There are three steps to this and while they may be shocking, it’s for the best. Once you conquer each step, take a breather, recover, and go for the next one.
Ready. Steady. Spaghetti.
1) Be the Sims but with less clicking.
Yes, I played the Sims – until my character accidentally married his neighbour and then I couldn’t handle managing two people. So. Much. Pressure.
One thing I did learn was that you get points for hanging out with other people. That makes sense. Good work, Sims. But do you know what’s better than the Sims? Real people, real life (no, I don’t mean Sims Social).
To ease you into this “real life” thing, how about organising a meetup of people you know online so everyone can feel awkward and be nerdy together?
Take Foursquare Day for example.
In an effort to get that elusive “swarm” badge, the #socadl tweeps organised over fifty people to check-in at the Malls Balls in Rundle Mall, Adelaide. It was great meeting people face to face and I’m sure it looked odd to people walking by as we were all staring at our phones, then suddenly bursting out with “We’re at 49! Come on!”
In this situation, it was fully expected that you would be glued to your phone, just like the others, but what was happening on our phones was also what we were talking about.
See, it doesn’t have to be so scary.
2) Play phone stack with friends.
According to the Googles, phone stacking has gone viral. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s how it works:
Everyone stacks their phones (of course only after you’ve checked in, Instagrammed your cutlery and come up with a hashtag for your lunch meeting). The idea is not to touch your phone during the meal, resisting the urge to respond to that Samurai Pizza Cats ringtone you had been hunting down for so long.
The first person to cave, pays for everyone’s meals. Guess what – it works.
At Connecting Up, we look forward to Fridays. Not only because it’s the end of the week, or someone will, at some part of the day, give us a rendition of Rebecca Black’s classic, but we also head out for schnitzel. What we found was that at the lunches where we stacked our phones, we all talked more and we were having decent conversations. Not to say this didn’t happen before, but removing the constant distraction made it a lot better.
Try it next time you meet up with your friends.
3) Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Ok, ok. Don’t freak out. You’re almost there. Just turn your phone off for a couple hours, go have coffee with someone you haven’t seen in person for a while (or ever) and have a good talk.
Find out that one thing that they get pumped about. See the look in their eyes and the way they move forward in their seat as they explain to you what they’re excited about.
Share what you love.
Feel that tingle run up your spine when you realise that, yes, this is the stuff that matters.
Find a connection – that one thing you both laugh about.
It’ll be worth it. Turn it off.
You can turn it back on later.
I share therefore I am?
In all seriousness, I’m an advocate for social. There really is a lot of great stuff out there, but it’s important that we don’t start to kid ourselves that what’s online is the only thing that matters.
The video above really is worth watching. If you have a spare 20 minutes, hit the play button.
The problem with this new regime… is that if we don’t have connection, we don’t feel ourselves… -Sherry Turkle
Like Sherry Turkle, I’m concerned that the longer we spend staring at our screens and fidgeting with the phones in our pockets, we’re going to lose ourselves in it. I’m not saying we need to give up on it completely, but let’s keep it in perspective.
Don’t let it eat your soul. Escape while you can.
[box type="note"]What do you think? Do you have ways to escape the social media black hole?[/box]