Catching up on some online reading, I came across this post by Brian Solis, which really captures the other side of social media – its addictive nature and encroaching presence in our everyday lives. As Solis observes, “My connectedness is slowly seizing my quiet moments. My sanctuary of enjoying my thoughts alone is now threatened.”
The moments of watching life pass by as I take pause are now replaced by the need to plug in and socialize without truly socializing. I swipe, pinch and zoom, and scroll as if I’ve become a digital conductor of sorts.The light of my mobile screen is the calming I need to fall asleep each night and the stimulus that starts each day. I’m not alone in this statusphere.
Taken to extremes our online interaction can reach recognizable levels of addiction. Solis says he is not addicted, but questions how much value he gets from his digital life and how we can perceive value based on a system he terms the 5 Vs.
With each update, we look for something in return and each represent 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 (I’m popular, I’m important…not egotism, but accidental narcissism.)
These 5 V’s coalesce differently with each update and produce distinct emotional results based on the measure we apply to our own actions, reactions and inactions.
So is it time we started to rethink the value we get from our digital lives? To re-train ourselves in how we use and appreciate social media to prevent ourselves becoming what Solis calls “an accidental narcissist”? His answer to this question is something which should give us pause for thought as we enter a new year of blogging, tweeting, pinning and linking in:
The value we take away from this digital lifestyle must only be surpassed by what we invest in it. That’s for each of us to define. And define it we must.