One of the most significant changes to the way we live our lives over the last several decades has been the rise of the Internet. The Internet has played a crucial role in changing how people interact with their loved ones and with society in general, and it’s no different for us.
We’ve all become more connected than ever before, whether that connection is through an iPhone, Skype, Facebook or Google Hangouts. As a result, we’re spending more time alone than ever before. According to a recent Pew survey, our average time spent on mobile phones and tablets was as high as 2 hours and 25 minutes per day
The average American spends nearly four hours a day online—more than twice as much as in 1990—but we now spend significantly more time alone: 4:21 minutes per hour spent on mobile devices versus 2:54 minutes per hour spent on computers. In other words, while we’re spending more time with our friends (and family) at home, we’re spending less time with them in real life. We need to acknowledge that technology isn’t making us more lonely; it’s bringing us closer to one another.
In this webinar you will learn some strategies you can use to make yourself feel less lonely (and have less lonely others), whether that’s by increasing your social networks or by finding new ways to connect with technology that doesn’t make you feel isolated from others or from yourself.
Here are some of the topics covered:
Do You Feel Lonely? (Useful questions to ask yourself) How can you increase your social networks? Find out if you’re falling out of touch with people around you by asking these questions What do you like about being alone? Do your social media sites make you feel lonely? How much do you pay attention to what other people are saying about what’s happening around you? How can technology help improve your social network? Find out if technology is making it harder for you to be alone What technologies give you the best feeling of connection? Learn how they may be able to help improve those times when being alone makes sense Why is technology necessary for connecting with others but not for connecting with yourself? The answer may surprise you Why social media sites don’t work at all if we actually want them to Workheal Why does group chat software not work for everyone Do group chat apps work for everyone? Find out why here How can group chat apps work for everyone so they
The Benefits of Virtual Connection
Social networking and social media have made it possible to connect with people we would never meet in real life, and to make new friends that we might otherwise never have known. But does social networking and social media make us more alone?
This question can be asked in two ways: either we are technologically removed from the people we care about, or we are physically separated from them.
In reality, many of us are both. We may be geographically separate (i.e., live far away from one another), but there is still an inherent sense of being “on the other side of the fence” as soon as we log on.
Readers might think that this is a pretty harmless observation, but it can also have a chilling effect on our ability to form meaningful relationships for various reasons:
If you keep using Facebook even though you know your friends don’t use it, then you’ll feel worse about your relationship with them than if you had put them off because they did use Facebook at the same time (or at least tried). It’s similar to comparing yourself to someone who doesn’t eat healthy or exercise regularly because they don’t want to look bad in front of their friends who do. Until you stop comparing yourself to others and start taking better care of yourself, you’ll continue to think about how different someone else’s health is from yours; how different their relationships are from your own; and how different they might be on average compared to everyone else. You’ll feel guilty for not being like everyone else because it makes everyone look better than they already do or better than they actually are. Even if that’s not true—even if there’s nothing average or average-looking about anyone who uses Facebook—it will still work against your self-esteem: Not only will you feel less healthy than your peers; not only will your peers look worse than everyone else; and not only will you feel bad compared with everyone else—you’ll think that it’s something special or exceptional about yourself when someone else uses Facebook while you don’t—even though no one has ever said anything negative about anyone who uses Facebook .
So what can be done? It isn’t easy for any technology company to really change people’s behavior: It’s hard enough for companies like AppNexus and GroupMe to convince users that when using their services rather than doing things offline, then user activity should benefit them by increasing revenue (and potentially increasing conversions). And sometimes people aren
Productivity is a powerful force, on both the individual and the team level. Once you start to get used to it, productivity becomes an almost automatic part of your day. For example, many people like to schedule their own meetings with client teams so they can work alongside clients in person rather than over the phone. They also prefer to have a dedicated time slot for email, calendar management and invoicing.
It’s a virtuous cycle: productivity leads to more productivity (more projects completed faster) which leads to more productivity-related savings (fewer hours spent on office work) which leads to more productivity-related savings which leads to more productivity-related savings. This can be hard on those who have become accustomed to working from home or for others who are less productive at home because of lack of resources in their work environment. But as long as you’re able to make some effort towards making your office environment as productive as possible, it doesn’t really matter where you spend your days—just do your best, and you will probably achieve much higher levels of productivity than you likely ever thought possible.
The Downsides of Technology
The most interesting recent study of loneliness demonstrates that the rise in internet connectivity has not made people more connected, but rather, more lonely. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, shows that even as people enjoy more digital connectivity and have access to a wider range of instant interactions, their levels of social isolation are near an all-time high. The scientists say this is likely due to a fundamental shift in human behavior: we are now living much longer and spending much more time alone.
“We found that our results suggest that a major driver of increases in loneliness is an increase in the amount of time people spend alone,” said lead researcher Charles Morin, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s Center for Digital Business and Society. “Our findings are consistent with other studies suggesting that increased isolation is a key driver behind many aspects of how people live today.”
Morin’s work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) as well as research funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Social Networking Research Program.
Morin explained that while there has been a long-term increase in life span, which is good news for those who want to enjoy more freedom, there has been a corresponding decrease in the amount of time people spend with others face-to-face. In fact, he said it has become less popular to be social than it used to be: “We’re moving towards a society where you have fewer opportunities for face-to-face interaction,” he said.
But instead of being torn apart by his own desires for privacy or discomfort over being out of touch with family or friends — both related phenomena — Morin said there may be something else at play here: technology itself.
“People spent far more time alone than they ever did before,” Morin said. “That’s what makes us so lonely today.”
The Negative Effects of Social Media
Social media has been blamed for many things, from the rise of racist politicians to the rise of terrorism. It’s hard to tell which is more true: that social media is a major factor in recent political events or that it has caused them.
The thing is, neither is true.
First and foremost, social media can only be a factor if people are actually doing it. If you give your friends a Facebook page and they don’t post anything (or if you use one but do nothing with it), then the only technology that can be blamed for this situation is Facebook itself.
But social media itself does not cause terrorism (or anything else) — those are all real factors, but they are not caused by social media at all. These are real factors that arise from things we do in life and which have nothing to do with technology: having an adult conversation with a friend, spending time with your family, playing music while waiting in line at Starbucks… That’s where technology comes in, by providing tools to help us have these high-quality interactions.
If we take off the filter of “technology causes terrorism” (which happens to be true), then we end up looking at other factors that are related to our lives: why we work so hard (to earn money) so that we can care for our families; why we want to go out on Friday night and hang out with friends; why we want to spend time with old friends who live far away from us; why some people prefer long-distance relationships over same-sex ones; why some people prefer short-distance relationships over same-sex ones… These aren’t problems caused by technology — rather, they are problems arising from us as human beings. Technology doesn’t cause these problems — or even make them worse — it only helps us address them better than before; it just makes them much easier for us to solve.
And that is where we get into a lot of trouble.
We have all sorts of ideas about the digital age and its impact on us: “It will be the end of childhood”, “We won’t need friends”, “I will be able to do anything in ten minutes, no matter where I am”, etc. The one that we don’t have is… Being alone. It is the last piece of the puzzle that we are lacking. We can build walls around ourselves because we are so used to it. We either think it will change; or, turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecies.
Well, maybe they aren’t self-fulfilling prophecies because technology has made us more lonely—it’s bringing us closer to each other. Don’t get me wrong: Face-to-face interaction is great. But for the first time in history, our generation has the advanced tools and resources to virtually connect with friends and family from all over the world in real time (or at least be able to replicate those interactions).
The problem with this nice-sounding idea is that it becomes much harder once you realize how many people aren’t online at any given moment — or how quickly they can switch off when you go offline for a few days . And when you do realize this fact (which happens when you start thinking about what your own life would look like if you weren’t online), there’s a whole host of implications for your business (and your life) beyond just being more lonely: Being more active means better health—it’s also cheaper than driving everywhere (less fuel costs and congestion), which means more money saved on gas and other costs associated with commuting (reduced car insurance premiums, fewer parking fees); being more active means lower stress levels—stress kills relationships; one study showed 24% of couples were happier when they were married than when they weren’t . . . And so on . . .
But getting back to my original point: technology has made us less alone—not by making us more connected but by making us closer together. And this turns out not only to be true for singles but for families too; children spend more time with their parents as a result of technology! These studies show significant decreases in loneliness among Americans who use smartphones most frequently for communication; among couples who use video chat most frequently for communication; among non-parents who use texting most