How Social Media Has Messed Us Up

The majority of us can’t even imagine being without our cell phones. The relatively tiny devices we carry around with us now function as GPS devices, marvelous computers which connect us to every part of the world, tie us into a massive information network which we have become entirely reliant on, and also happen to function as the basic communication aids which were originally invented by Italian inventor Antonio Meucci in 1849 (Alexander Graham Bell won the credit in 1876 as a result of winning the first U.S. patent).

Cell phones have become a necessity in modern society, but they have also caused us to develop compulsive behaviors which feed into the irresistible distraction which they present. Though you may deny it, I am willing to bet that you experience a certain level of anxiety if your cell phone battery power winds down, if you lose reception, if you lose a Wifi signal, or are somehow locked out of a website you need to access immediately. We have become so reliant on the immediate gratification which comes with doing a Google search on our Smartphones or iPhones that we have turned into petulant children when glitches occur. We are so dependent on our cellular devices that they have become security blankets.

Whether we like it or not, our reliance on cellular technology makes us less productive and less attentive to ordinary daily tasks. We could be sitting at work, cooking a meal, walking our dogs, or driving to work, while still concerned about what supposedly vital information we are missing by not staring at our phones. God forbid we miss our friends’ Facebook updates or allow our email inboxes to pile up as we try to navigate through a typical day! We are accustomed to having our phones close by at all times, and every time it makes a notification sound, we stop what we are doing to attend to our phones, which draws attention away from what we should really be focused on. Time ticks by, and suddenly, we are distracted from viewing a beautiful sunset. Even if we view that beautiful sunset, we tend to feel a compulsion to record the sunset by taking a picture of it with those confounded phones.

Even when we aren’t at work, our brains must sort through an enormous amount of information from our phones and computers. One 2011 study stated that we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information every single day. And since the brain’s ability to process information is limited, we often end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious as we try to power through all the information being thrown at us. Though the age of social media has enabled us to connect in novel and far-reaching ways, it also robs us of our attention and distracts us from other tasks.

It’s no wonder that the incidence of anxiety in our society has increased dramatically.

There should be a limit on the frequency with which we view social media sites. Be sure to set aside a brief designated time each day to check emails and peruse social media, then PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY. Leave the bulk of each day to relaxing, sightseeing, engaging in outdoor activities, and enjoying life. Trust me, your brain needs a break from the constant influx of technology.

Another disturbing reality about our attachment to cell phones is the false sense of community we feel as a result of social media notifications and texts. The perception is that we are part of a vast network, but the ironic thing is that we tend to access our cell phones while alone. This isolation from actual interaction can actually trigger loneliness and depression. From the moment we wake up until we rest our heads to sleep, our cell phones are always on. They even serve as our alarm clocks now!

Advertisements

It’s World Emoji Day

world emoji day

Just in case you didn’t know, it’s World Emoji Day! Go wild and express yourself with emojis all day, and also use the hashtag #WorldEmojiDay when on Twitter or Instagram.

string of emojis

If you don’t believe this is true, visit http://worldemojiday.com/

In Defense Of One Word Texters

K potassium

I will admit up front that I generally don’t enjoy typing out text messages on my phone, which is why I typically use talk-to-text. I will also admit that I frequently use responses like, “ok”, “sure”, “yes”, “no”, and at times, the dreaded “k”. Sometimes we are so busy trying to get through our days that lengthy text messages can really interfere with the cadence of the day. In those cases, brief responses seem totally appropriate, especially if they include the phrase, “Really busy right now, but will let you know.” My phone always gets that talk-to-text sentence correct, so I use it frequently as well. I figure that it’s better than not responding at all.

Some of my friends send longer text messages, but they are so well organized and to the point that I totally dig them (plus I really adore those friends). What grates on my nerves is when people (usually casual friends, acquaintances, clients, and patients) send lengthy essays which meander and seem utterly pointless, leaving me to dig through box after box of text messages. If I am in the middle of something, about to drive, or trying to sleep, I will let them know. However, some people don’t seem to get the hint and will continue to send one wordy text after another, a whole mess of them, basically talking AT me and refusing to respect the fact that I am busy. That’s when I am far more prone to resort to one word texts or state once again that I am not in a position to text back. Or I will just come out and essentially say, “GET TO THE POINT!”

Put Your Phone Down!

o-TALKING-ON-CELL-PHONE-facebook-806x393

Please read my original post at:

http://xactmind.com/xc/articles/put-your-phone-down/

By: Dr. Stacey Naito – Physician and IFBB Pro

Cell phones are a necessary evil these days, but if you think about how much of your day you spend looking into a mobile device, you might realize that you have become overly dependent on it. Why is this such a bad thing? Well, for starters, our reliance on cellular technology makes us less productive and less attentive to tasks which we perform throughout the day. Whether you are cooking an omelet, driving to work, or drafting a letter, chances are that your cell phone is close by, and that every time it makes a notification sound, you stop what you are doing to attend to your phone, which draws attention away from what you should be focused on.

Cell phones are so distracting that scientists discovered that texting or engaging in conversation on a cell phone while walking can interfere with your ability to walk enough to cause accidents. This is because working memory and executive functioning are required during cell phone use, which distracts the user from the motor function of walking.

Another disturbing reality about our attachment to cell phones is the false sense of community we feel as a result of social media notifications and texts. The perception is that we are part of a vast network, but the ironic thing is that we tend to access our cell phones while alone. This isolation from actual interaction can actually trigger loneliness and depression. From the moment we wake up until we rest our heads to sleep, our cell phones are always on. They even serve as our alarm clocks now!

If you want to be more productive, leave your cell phone alone when you first wake up in the morning, and avoid using it while eating, driving, or performing other tasks. The messages and emails aren’t going anywhere, and neither are social media updates.

References:

Lamberg EM, Muratori LM. Cell phones change the way we talk. Gait Posture 2012 Apr:35(4):688-90.

Respond To My Text!

texting and IG
I cannot figure out why people these days are prone to ignoring texts. I understand that it can be difficult to respond to voicemail messages and email messages throughout the day, but is it so difficult to respond to someone’s text? I have a tendency to be quite brief with my texts, and I am by no means the type of person who engages in small talk via text, simply because I don’t have the time or the inclination to do such a thing. However, if someone texts me with an important or time sensitive question or issue, I am courteous enough to respond as quickly as I am able to. Accordingly, if I text someone about something important, I expect a response. If I have to keep texting, my irritation increases exponentially with each follow-up text, and I think to myself, why am I expending all this energy to follow up when this person is being so damned rude?

There was one situation I dealt with recently which irritated me to no end. It pertained to a poorly functioning central A/C unit in my home during triple digit weather, creating an ugent situation. I texted the property manager regarding the situation, and waited three days. When I got no response, I sent another text and also included a note with our rent checks. Instead of getting a text response, I received a call four days later from someone else at the management company who wanted to send someone that morning to look at the A/C. I agreed to it and someone was dispatched to our place that day. If you’re doing the math here, it took 7 days to address an urgent issue. When I returned home I saw evidence that the service technician had been in our place, but there were parts lying around so I texted the manager with questions regarding the parts. I then waited another WEEK before getting a call from the associate who finally addressed my questions regarding parts which were lying around, then told me that the manager was often out of town. Excuse me? If that was an issue, he should have sent a quick text or called me to clarify his situation instead of ignoring me like that. In my estimation, that shows a glaring lack of consideration.

It seems so strange to me that people avoid texting when it is the quickest and most convenient way to communicate via communication devices. I think it is downright RUDE when a person ignores a greeting or an expression of positive vibes which are sent via text. More recently, I have been blocking people who have repeatedly shown a lack of consideration and a complete absorption in themselves. Life is far too short to deal with such insults!

Some People Text TOO MUCH!

I cannot believe how some people seem to be addicted to texting, to the exclusion of actually speaking to others in person (that’s because they’re too distracted by texting incessantly). Call me old school, but I much prefer having discussions via phone or in person chats than via text. One of the most annoying things for me is to be presented with a multi-part question requiring a lengthy response. If that text is followed up with a number of similarly epic-length scrolls, I will often resort to text responses such as, “too much to text” or “tell you when I see you”, because it is agonizing for me to text an interminable response.
i-phone-chat-text-texting-message-msg-phone-bubbles-message-fail-funny-facebook-status-timeline-profile-photos-for-sharing-fb-29
I have determined a few types of texting addicts by their tendencies and styles:

THE ADVICE SEEKER: This person is always asking for advice, whether it be on what movie to see, what job offer to take, or what name would be most suitable for his new dog. Some people I know will regularly ask for medical advice which generally irritates me, since I do not treat patients remotely. I just recently had someone ask me detailed questions about an upcoming surgery. It took almost a half hour of my time to respond to all the texts, whereas if we had just talked on the phone, we could have covered the same material in about 5 minutes.

THE TOLSTOY: This person enjoys writing lengthy essays which, on certain phones, will come in 4, 5, 6 segments, each of which is lengthy enough to make your eyes cross. Such texts may take the form of a synopsis of the entire day, or if it has been a while since the person has texted, may summarize the last few weeks or months. If that’s the case, brace yourself for an endless stream of these essays.

THE WORD ASSOCIATION TEXTER: The word association texter employs a style of texting which reads like random thoughts which are wholly unrelated to each other. It’s a hippy-dippy, stream of consciousness style which makes little sense at all.

THE LAZY TEXTER: The lazy texter may get into a rhythm and text quite a bit, but the texts are full of typos and require you to play a guessing game and translate the gibberish. “Going to the gym around 7 am” may end up looking more like “Goidn ti the gtm arudhb 7 am”. What bugs me is that certain people have no problem sending an endless stream of these massively misspelled texts. It seems lazy and sloppy, and it drives me nuts.

THE “LOL” TEXTER: This person is evidently quite happy when texting, because he or she uses “LOL” like it’s a part of normal conversation. You may even see humorless texts from this person with “LOL” appended to them. An example of an actual text I received from someone a couple of years ago is, “Oh wow, that sucks about your dad in the hospital and all LOL”. HOW IS THAT FUNNY?

THE ABBREVIATION TEXTER: This person abbreviates everything from TTYL to SMH, IDK, etc. I wonder if people who have a tendency to do this begin to forget the actual words behind the abbreviations? Hah!

THE EMOTICON TEXTER: This person loves using the emoticons which have become so ingrained in our culture. You can open up a text exchange with this person and see smiley faces and frown faces peppered throughout the entire record.

THE ANGRY TEXTER: This type of person likes to argue via text instead of hashing it out via phone or face to face contact. Usually such arguments are the result of misinterpreted texts and are best avoided by speaking on the phone with each other, but the angry texter opts to communicate via text.

THE “WHATCHA DOING?” TEXTER: This person’s texts can follow you around like a puppy dog, with “whatcha doing?”, and “what are you up to?” used quite a bit. If you text “at work, can’t text now”, you will encourage this person to then send about 15 text messages in a row, with things like, “yeah, it’s a drag being at work”, “what are you working on?”, “Do you have a really busy schedule today?”, etc.

I honestly think people should rely less on texting technology and return to communicating by voice on the phones they carry around with them.

What Happened To A Good Old-Fashioned Phone Call?

smartphonesThese days we walk around with cell phones that are technological marvels, a far cry from the behemoth units from the original mobile phone era. The term “SmartPhone” is an appropriate description for the most part, since Android phones rival the storage capabilities and functions of our laptop computers. We can do Google searches, map out a travel route, check our work schedules, update social media, listen to music, read books and watch movies and videos on our phones now. Residential land lines have become all but obsolete now. Another thing that has become fairly obsolete is the point and shoot camera. Cell phones have such high quality cameras now that there is no reason to have a separate dedicated camera.old-school-cell-phone

Because our phones can do so much, it is not uncommon to see people constantly distracted by their phones. I have actually seen people together at a restaurant, seated at a table, and looking at their phones without speaking to each other at all. I have also witnessed (and been guilty of same) people leave the table to use the restroom and look immediately at their phones, while their meal mates immediately look at their phones as well. Years ago such things would have been regarded as incredibly rude, but are to an extent part of the accepted norm now.

I have also noticed that many people will look at their phones right before going to sleep at night and right upon waking every morning. Whatever happened to looking over at your mate or spending time with your pets? Is your phone more precious than they are? A cell phone should never be the first thing to grab in the morning (though many people have resorted to using their cell phone alarms to wake them up in the mornings) or the last thing they look at in the evening. Cell phones have become a modern-day security blanket.texting on phone

Perhaps the one thing that frustrates me the most is that many people will engage in lengthy text exchanges. If there is a great deal to be said, especially if there is the exchange of a lot of information, or worse yet, a heated argument, it seems to me that speaking on the phone would be much easier and more considerate to the texting partner than continuing to engage in behavior that avoids inflection and a true connection with another human being. In addition, all that texting aggravates the thumbs so much that a medical condition called “Gamekeeper’s Thumb” should at this point be renamed “Texter’s Thumb”. Besides, how real are our communications with each other when we are so busy using abbreviations like “LOL”, “TY”,”OMG”, and emoticons like :-), 😦 and ;-P ?

Come on, guys! You might not remember that your cell phones are equipped to handle voice calls along with all the other nifty features that you allow yourself to get distracted by. Let’s not allow basic communication to break down as a result of being tethered to our cell phones. Girl on phone