To Connect or Disconnect? The Ultimate Technological Question Buzzing Millenials


It is hard to feel alone in my room right now as I gaze around and see three computers, an iPhone and a tablet that conceal my many connections in tiny cubicle forms. I work from home, on the computer, and like most Millenials, I check my phone like the next tap might win me the lottery. It hasn’t yet, nor has my husband’s slot machine app that he plays until his fingers go numb. Should we be worried we are too obsessed with technology? Are we too connected or too disconnected? It seems like a question Socrates would ponder if he was alive today and could strap a Bluetooth under his wig.

 

I am not alone in my ponderings either– 60% of Americans polled in one study felt more connected to each other due to technology, while the other 40% vehemently felt the opposite (Yankelovich, Monitor). I am not sure which side of the docket I fall on, to be honest. Those who know me recognize it is almost ironic that I telecommute since my aversion to most things technical has been apparent since I struggled with Oregon Trails in middle school. I have a love-hate relationship with it but have come to understand one vital truth- it isn’t going away. On the positive side, it has also allowed me to stay connected to friends in all of the states I have lives or visited, which when you move six times in six years, can really be an asset.

 

On “Team Tech” we have proponents like social media moguls, fashion bloggers and well, every economist. Technology has connected us in ways we never imagined and at a pace no one could have foreseen. Studies show that we check our phones up to 150 times a day, on average (Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013) and that number will likely only grow. We conduct our business on it, make and break friendships on it and even find our soul-mates on popular apps. Face it, if your iPhone was a person you would either hire him or marry him.

 

Our various social networks not only allow us to stay connected to friends but it has also been a key way for businesses to be promoted in a grass-roots manner by showcasing user comments rather than simply relying on marketing to push their products. Apps and websites like Yelp.com help us find businesses and see what others think about the service, which is important since studies also show we tend to distrust businesses themselves but sincerely care about what our friends or even strangers recommend.

On the “Back to Walden” side of disconnectedness, 40% of us are feeling lonelier due to this vast amount of possible rejection and isolation. We have had the internet since the 1980’s so these folks are not exactly change-averse, they are noticing that “hanging out” on Skype just isn’t the same as getting coffee or a beer together.  While some are finding love online, 33% are dumped through Facebook posts or text messages (Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013). Youch.

Social networking has helped us stay up to date with our web of friends and family; however there is also a guard placed between people that allow our friends to be peepers at our profiles without us knowing it or laughing at our jokes without the benefit of watching them buckle over. Putting so much of our lives “out there” in a way has made many of us wish we had more interesting things to write about! Self-reflective moment: life really might be primetime television, popcorn and wine most nights.

While it seems everything and everyone is online and sharing moments that just really should not be spread to the populous, Mary Meeker reports that only 15% of Americans say they “share everything” or “most things” while the WORLD average is 24%. Our friends in India are over 50%–is that a premonition of what is to come for us or will we hold steady on our balance of information sharing? When I say balance I have to hesitate, there are definitely 15% of my Facebook friends that I would like to teach the meaning of the word to, but I digress.

Interested in knowing more? This little gem is just part one as we partner through the socially-connected world together to talk about little things like FOMO and why videos and voice sharing are only the beginning to the next phase of our new technically-driven world. Stay tuned for part two!

 For more articles like this click here


Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!