Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dark side of social network

Social network has brought many positive changes.  But it also brought new challenges.  As more and more people use smartphone to access social networks (some even carry their phones to their beds), keeping up with all the news and updates from friends around you is turning out to be more harm than good in some instances.

July 16th edition of Newsweek had an interesting article on how connection addiction is rewiring our brains.  The article described how many of us are getting addicted to immediate reactions and constantly staying connected.  Because we are rewarded by receiving quick comments or likes and chatting on virtual social network, our plastic brain is changing to adopt to the new environment.  We are training ourselves to be constantly distracted and incapable to think deeply on one subject.

It's especially worrisome that our kids are getting exposed to social network and smartphones at such a young age.  They are more vulnerable to internet addiction including social network.  As first generation who are growing up on these technologies, no one really knows how the social network is shaping their brain development.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
South Korean kids go through military style exercise
to curb their internet addiction.

When I examine myself, I see the same challenges.  I often find myself checking Twitter when I am in my car waiting for green light, or going through Facebook updates when I'm in the living room with my family.  There is no particular reason why I should be.  I just do because it is possible and easy to do.

We all have to realize social network is a tool to keep up with friends.  It is not a game where goal is to collect the most number of friends and followers.  Although Facebook and Twitter may try convince you to do more sharing, you have power to stop the unhealthy habit.

Here's what I suggest:

1. Set no social networking time

Make a rule to not use social network at least twice a day.  My suggestion is to not use social network 30 minutes after work-out routine and during dinner time plus 30 minutes.  Exercising and sharing meal clears your mind and allows you to restore energy.  It also helps you think more creatively if you are facing a road block.  Set aside time when you can unplug.

2. Realize people don't expect immediate response

No one can keep up with all the news and status updates that land on his Home page.  That includes you and me.  Don't fall in the trap of needing to comment and like everything that's happening around you.

3. Don't forget that the best way to connect with people is face-to-face meeting

Still the best way to connect with people is sharing a meal, sitting down for coffee and communicating using our all senses.  Whenever you have a chance, get together with your friend.  That will go far more way than sending text messages back and forth.  Make sure you spend the time to build a relationship.

Any other helpful tips that you suggest?

No comments:

Post a Comment