Your Digital Lifestyle – Is it time to redefine value?
By Muhammad Johari A. Karim. Published November 7, 2013
Digital lifestyle service packages–integrated packages of telecommunications, cable TV, Internet, home energy management, home security, and perhaps other services–are gaining popularity with consumers across the United States. According to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Digital Lifestyle Study, consumers are generally comfortable with the idea of purchasing these packaged services from a single company.
Communications media, whether pen and paper, phone calls, Facebook, or Twitter, can exacerbate or alleviate the perils of teenage life, or even do both at the same time. But today’s social media have the potential to amplify age-old anxieties and rites of passage in ways that yesterday’s communications media did not, by opening once-private exchanges for an entire school to see, adding photos and videos to words, allowing an entire community the chance to comment on what is seen or heard or said online, and by maintaining a permanent record of all those interactions (Boyd, 2007).
It is not news that digital is becoming a way of life. Social networks, smart phones, apps, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and text messages are becoming embedded in our digital life. 90% of mobile users keep their device within arm’s reach 100% of the time. “Turning off digital” really is not possible as the social web never shuts off. You can shut off your computer, tablet or smart phone but the social web always seems to call your name. It is usually whispering things like “turn me on, push that button, scroll me, and do not leave me off for so long.”
Yes, I am joking here. I know that the social web is not really talking to you. If you are hearing such voices, you should not read the rest of this blog post. Instead you should turn off your device from which you are reading this article and head to the nearest beach, coffee shop, gym, park or venue of choice! We know there is a conversation happening every moment of every day. There is not a moment of the day or week that we cannot find many of our friends, colleagues, employees, partners and clients online. They are there, ready to tweet, like, comment, and talk at a moment’s notice.
We hop on Facebook to “check-in” and quickly find that one post can easily spin us into a 20 minute online conversation or an hour spent (or wasted) surfing, chatting, reading, learning and talking to friends. Think about this…
- Why do you spend so much time online?
- Why do you have a hard time turning off Facebook?
- Why do you like one social network over the other?
- What are you actually doing when you are engaged on the social web?
- What are your goals? Do you have goals?
- Do your actions on the social web support your life and/or business goals?
- Is the amount of time you spend on the social web really needed to help you meet your business and life goals?
- Do you spend more time on the social networks than you wish you did? If you answer yes to this question, are you willing to do something about it?
- What are you seeking?
- Are you seeking to nurture relationships?
- Are you seeking human connection?
- Are you seeking justification?
- Are you seeking validation?
- Are you seeking education, learning?
- Are you seeking inspiration?
- Do you need to stroke the ego a bit?
With each update, we look for something in return and each represents a shifting balance between…
1) Vision (I learn something, I’m inspired);
2) Validation (I’m accepted or justified);
3) Vindication (I’m right, cleared);
4) Vulnerability (I’m open); and
5) Vanity (Not egotism, but accidental narcissism. I’m important),
These 5 V’s combine differently with each update and produce distinct emotional results based on the measure we apply to our own actions, reactions and inactions.
My concern is that as we all grow adapted to the digital life we risk losing focus on how we got here to begin with. We must continually be certain that we are giving and receiving value from our time and efforts.
Is it time to revisit our goals?
We must keep our goals and objectives as a solid foundation to determine how and where we invest our time both on and offline. This includes business goals and life goals. Our digital life is a journey, not a destination.
WHY do you do what you do? Do you need to revisit how you spend your time online? Is it providing value to your business and your life? Or are you getting distracted by vanity metrics, following competition or increasing influence scores? Are you seeking validation in the form of likes, tweets, retweets, repins, +1 ‘s and the list goes on?
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I revisit both my business and life goals often. When I feel that I am spinning into a digital crazy cyclone cycle, I turn off. I take a weekend, afternoon or day to reconnect in a big way with my family, friends and myself.
The last couple weeks I have been doing exactly this. I have been re-examining how I spend my time online. I am doing a sanity check on my business and life goals so that I can ensure my time spent both on and offline is providing the most value to my life, my business, my family, my passions, clients, partners, community, and friends.
I have been re-evaluating my “friend” policy on Facebook and removing people who requested my online friendship but have not talked to me in months. I am re-evaluating how and where I spend my time online. I am working to better leverage and use my time so I can create more value for everything and everyone that is a priority in my life. I do not know all the answers yet, but I do know that many of you need to do the same thing.
THE “IN REAL LIFE” DIGITAL LIFE…
Our digital lives are not separate from our real life. For most of us, digital is a way of life. It’s how we wake up and it’s how we go to bed. No, it doesn’t mean we’re addicted. It just means it’s embedded into our DNA.
However, we can still have control. It is our value system and life goals that must serve as a foundation to how we spend our time. Life is short. We shouldn’t let it be monopolized by social networks, vanity metrics, and wasted efforts and time that are not providing value.
KEY LEARNING : “WHY…” the most important question in your digital life.
As we have always asked ourselves, WHY is the most important question to ask in social media? WHY is the most important question to ask in life? WHY is the most important question to ask in your digital life? I cannot answer the question for you. You must dig deep into your purpose, passions, goals and objectives. You must find your WHY and ensure that your digital lifestyle supports all of the above. You are going to get out of your digital life what you put into it. Make sure you are investing your time in the right things.
For the generation of youth in their teens today, social media are so intricately woven into the fabric of their lives that they don’t really know what life would be like without them. Some observers may be surprised to learn that even these “digital natives” who have grown up with social media as a part of their lives still prefer hanging out with each other in person. Being together in person may also involve texting and checking your Facebook site and sometimes annoying your friends by doing so, but it is interesting that even today’s teens see the value in being able to look a friend in the eye and make her laugh. Yes, texting is fast and easy, and they use it a lot, but, as one teen wrote, “‘moments’ only happen in person.” (Rideout, 2012)
“The value we take away from this digital lifestyle must only be surpassed by what we invest in it.” ~Brian Solis
Muhammad Johari A Karim
MARA Coaching & Mentoring Committee – Lecturer of Technopreneurship at Kolej Kemahiran TInggi MARA Balik Pulau, Penang. Handle full service social brand and digital marketing consultant. Speaker for team building program, strategist, consultant, coach and part-time trainer. I help businesses of all size integrate social media into the DNA of their business and connect with target. I have graduated in 2003 with Bachelor’s of International Business Management (Hons.) from Northern University of Malaysia and currently pursuing an Executive MBA program at MARA University of Technology, Bukit Mertajam, Penang Campus.
What are your thoughts?
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Boyd, d. (2007). Why youth (heart) social network sites: the role of networked publics in teenage social life. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), MacArthur Foundation series on digital learning — Youth, Identity, and Digital Media volume (pp. 119-142). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rideout, V. (2012). Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives. New York: Common Sense Media.