In our recent survey, more than 50% of respondents said they had not disconnected from the web for more than a week in the last year. And more than one quarter of respondents reported being late for work, school, an appointment or some other activity because of being online.
I’ve been talking with a lot of newbies lately- many people are on the fence about the role of social networks in their lives, and confused about how and why to jump in.
After seeing this data, it’s easy to see that they are right about one thing: there’s a risk of the social web creeping in and impinging on your real world life. We need to put the Social Web is put in its rightful place, and stop it from becoming something that controls us or is a big time sink.
So, the social web has a rightful place- it comes AFTER the following:
1. After real life interactions with people you care about
2. After deep, thoughtful consideration and communication- Tweets are not a substitute for real listening and real expression!
3. After taking care of your embodied self (exercise, sleep, food, sex- don’t laugh, there are internet addicts who turn away from their real life partners in favor of the screen, and miss the start of their exercise class because they are online.)
4. After creating and expressing and working and feeling and knowing what you value (all best done undistracted, enhanced by being deeply present, to engage in inquiry, tapping into source, flowing)
Your social network participation should have intention behind it- know why you want to be part of the social web- so that you control it, and it doesn’t control you. There are a lot of good reasons, of course- and a lot of bad ones, too. Then, decide how much you want to engage and put some process in place around that. Decide where to engage so you’re not scattered all over the place.
We’ve all heard that the medium changes the message; this new medium changes much more than the message- it is changing the fabric of our culture- more than TV, more than the prior 15 years of the web. It can be addictive, and even overwhelming. No matter how much technology changes, and how helpful it can be, we need to still start with intention- and be human first.