I’ll freely admit that many of the ‘stars’ of social media, have mostly passed me by. Even as an avid user of apps and the internet in general, I’m probably not of the right age to know my Jenna Marbles from my PewDiePie (yes I did have to Google them) – who apparently make absolute fortunes from their uploads.
Like you, I suspect, I only come across these individuals when they go beyond the confines of their medium of choice and end up in the mainstream news. One prime example being ‘prankster’ (or perhaps ‘idiot’) Shah Faisal Shinwari who thought it would be a good idea to video himself jumping off Tower Bridge into the Thames earlier this year, only to nearly drown in the process.
More recently we have Essena O’Neill, an Australian star of photo site Instagram, who has hit the news after effectively calling time on her burgeoning career pushing brands and product to her 612,000 followers. Essena has, somewhat belatedly, come to the conclusion that living your entire life ‘online’ and judging your self-worth by how many likes your photos get, is probably not going to develop a fully-rounded individual with much self-worth.
Essena has been widely praised for deleting most of her 2,000 photos – some of which she earned four-figures for uploading – and for putting truthful comments on the rest about how she was paid to take them and what she had to do to get the right shot. She has also suggested that those who are obsessed with both people like her and spending increasing amounts of time online, need to take a break from such activity and reassess their lives.
Rationing browsing time
Now while I might be slightly cynical about Essena’s motives – she has just launched her own website and what better way to drum up publicity for it – I do think there is a kernel of truth within such actions that could be of benefit for all. We are constantly talking about the amount of time our children spend online these days, and the need for parents to ration this and to combine it with outdoor activities and play.
But what about the adults? What about our own use of social media and the like? Are we spending too much time on our phones? Are we unable to go five minutes without checking our Facebook pages or updating our Twitter accounts? Even within work hours? I recently read of an increasing number of firms in Sweden where employees work just six hours a day and must also take a full hour for lunch. To be able to finish at 3pm each day, the employee must agree not to conduct any personal activity during work hours – no personal internet use, no phone use, no text messages, and so forth.
Would you be able to deal with such a request? What would you do with the ‘free hours’ you gained? Would you simply spend them online doing what you were unable to do at the office or would you be able to use that time perhaps more constructively in other endeavours?
Everything in moderation
It’s a tricky question to answer but our internet time, the hours we spend on phones and devices tapped into social media, can clearly have great benefits especially in a business capacity. This doesn’t mean it should become the be all and end all of our day; it doesn’t mean it should run our lives for us; and it doesn’t mean that we should spend all our waking hours thinking about our online personas and how they are perceived.
The ‘everything in moderation’ mantra is equally as relevant to us as it is to children’s time spent on the internet. Why not make a little note of the time you spend engaged in this, and then judge how constructive that time has been for you – both from a business and personal perspective. You might be surprised at the results and I would hazard a guess that when you come round to doing the same thing again, you’ll stop and think about its value, and whether you could be engaged in something which is more worthwhile instead.