For example, an Australian mother, Susan Maushart, took her entire family, including 3 teenagers, off of electronics for 6 months. She chronicles their story in the book “The Winter of Our Disconnect” (nice title)
I’m not suggesting you unplug for 6 months. I do encourage you to be watchful to see if you may in fact be too plugged in. And if you find that you are… maybe unplugging for a week or a weekend every once in a while would be enough.
To that end, here are the Top 7 Signs You May Be Too Plugged In:
1. You think a water proof iPhone for the shower or tub makes sense – Have you ever gotten out of the shower or bath to check your tweets? Or a text message coming in?
There is a Weird Al Yankovic video called “White and Nerdy” in which they show the main character with a rig that allows him to work on his laptop in the shower. It scared me that this made sense to me.
2. You have tweeted during sex – I swear I am not making this up. I have heard stories of people who have actually tweeted or texted during intimate moments. Talk about a mood killer!
But this also applies to tweeting or texting when you’re out for a meal with family or friends. Don’t talk and text. It’s rude. There are real people there waiting to engage with you. Pay attention and be present.
3. You believe the “actual physical real world” is just an accessory to your online life – Seems to be more prevalent with the under 25 crowd, who have never known a world not plugged in. If you ever look up from your smart phone and think “Oh yeah, this is real” this could mean you. When you get big news and the first thing you think of is “I can’t wait to share this on Facebook”, you might be in danger.
4. When you “laugh out loud” you actually say “LOL” – I’ve heard our oldest son’s teenage friends actually do this. All we have to say is OMG. Do your emails and Thank You notes contain text abbreviations?
5. You believe your keyboard makes a good pillow – How many of us who spend a great deal of time working with our computers have not done this one? Do you find hours have gone by and you realize you just spent them instant messaging people you barely know..? Might be time to step away from the laptop.
6. You text during a movie in theaters and actually believe no one sees the light from your phone – Unless it is an emergency there is no need for this. Enjoy the activities you are participating in, when you are there. Consequence for violations should be having to clean the theater floor. With your tongue.
7. If your friends or family aren’t on Facebook or Twitter, you rarely speak to them – Make sure you are still having human relationships in the real word.
While there are many advantages to our ultra-connected world for businesses and consumers alike, there are also dangers. You want to be able to form and keep relationships IRL, or “in real life”. As with anything, balance is key.
Many people use technology to hide and isolate themselves from real life and real relationships. Maybe because those require real trust and there’s the possibility you can get hurt. But real relationships trump virtual any day of the week.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time for you to disconnect, even if it’s just for one 24 hour period. Go out and talk to real people in the real world.
And when you want to learn more about how to leverage Social Media without being too plugged in, check out this article on “Online Visibility With Your Articles – How to Get Found & Be Seen Everywhere in Your Niche”