It is often said that we live in a digital age where digital technology allows us to follow in real time news and updates from friends and family around the world.
For instance we all have an array of social media outlets that we can use to share what we’re up to with everyone: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest etc. The list is by no means exhaustive, it is just the outlets I am most familiar with (although I don’t use them all with the same effort the main reason being time or the lack of it).
For me as an expat with friends and family in at least two other countries, the use of social media to stay connected is a must. And recently this blog and the natural desire to want to share it with other people, drives me towards social media again. Although it is different as sharing my blog will involve looking for networks that can be different from friends’ networks.
And this is where I find the use of social media extremely beneficial. It creates added value out of almost nothing in terms of initial investment. As most outlets are free there is no financial cost associated with setting up multiple accounts. The only cost is time and that is in terms of initial and ongoing efforts put into creating and maintaining various profiles alive. All social media users know that time spent online can be significant as the more accounts you have the more time you will need to spend updating them or writing your blog for example. But time spent online despite being the main investment (and the main loss so to speak) is also the main ally when it comes to achieving some success from online activities. The longer and more often you are on social media the more people become used to seeing you and start valuing your contribution. So perseverance pays!
But increasing the amount of time spent online often means less time spent on other things. That blog article you want to write, and the pinterest account to update, and the latest post to share on twitter, and the latest photos to upload on flickr, and the latest photos from your flickr contacts to see and comment on, and the latest posts from the blogs you follow to read and comment on, you start feeling that digital life is taking over your life. A conundrum starts to emerge between the digital life and the real life when it comes to the use of time and efforts. Digital life and real life can start to compete, a situation which is very different from the starting point where digital life was a copy of real life and was aimed at improving it.
Bloggers will know what I’m talking about especially those that have decided to make a living out of it. But in a way as they concentrate their efforts in one direction it might be easier for them to live the ‘digital way of life’?
For me blogging is still for fun so I do it when I can. But I often feel the frustration from the lack of time to do more of it or to engage in more interactions.
So digital life is not taking over for me yet but the temptation to spend more time online is there. I recently read an article about being alone in a digital world that describes how younger generations are learning to be ‘lonely’ in what is a much better connected world (https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/982692cea1c9)
That is the effect of smart phones or other devices people own that are so interesting but also so addictive!
For me it is easy to draw the line as other things take priority, my son, my family, work, friends and then what time is left goes to my digital life. And as long as I can make the most of the digital connections to enhance my real life I am happy.
Not only am I better connected to my existing friends, but I have made new friends and have expanded my contacts through online interactions. Mums online network ‘the NappyValleyNet’, twitter, the Brixton Blog have helped me find contacts in my area.
The wider, fluid and obstacle-free network that digital technology is helping to create has the potential to increase our interactions based on the things that interest us. These exchanges often translate into face to face relationships that enhance our connectivity.
So it is all beneficial and worth the ongoing investment and efforts. And as long as the temptation to spend time online is under control and is being used for a good ‘real’ cause the balance achieved is the right one: all in favor of the enrichment of real life!