How can we stay human in an online world?
This is one of the big points Emma Gannon raises in her latest book for 2022 about social media, the impact of the pandemic and how we are all working from behind screens, as working from home becomes the norm – another big point raised in her other non-fiction book, The Multi-Hyphen Method.
How have we all become so disconnected?
I’m just not sure if there is much else that is new that I don’t already know after reading this book The last chapter about community felt a little rushed.
(Dis)Connected focuses on the then and now of working, the online world and social media (to name a few), detailing Gannon’s own experience of working from home and mainly online, before the hit of the pandemic and how everyone was impacted and had to adapt.
It’s made us a bit more impatient as technology become almost instant.
Much of the stuff she raises is already known – at least from my current knowledge – where she notes that we are all tired from working online, as we are surrounded by screens, get our news and media from screens, share and communicate via screens… it’s no wonder we are exhausted!
We are consumed by tech and constantly 24/7 communication, where we are increasingly limiting our face-to-face connection, something as tribes we truly could not have survived without.
The pandemic did a lot of bad things for people. Many fatalities, loved ones lost, others left really ill, an exponential increase in mental health cases – just a lot of cr*p, poop consequences. Being forced to work from home has seen it become the new way of work, or otherwise hybrid working.
Besides the pandemic and working from home, she quite rightly notes how social media has changed our ways of communicating, even with people we don’t know for reasons good and bad. Trolls hide behind screens, finding an easier way to become ‘confident’ and bring other people down, an indication they are unhappy in themselves or their life – something they don’t want to admit.
It can take 1 bad comment vs 1000 good comments to ruin your mood and confidence – it’s true!
There have been times where I would see negative comments, but instead I fortunately am adapting my mindset and reminding myself of why they might be doing that.
There are also the block and unfollow buttons, both which are useful for when an influencer you’re following is actually making you feel bad. Gannon continues with how closely we are marketed to by influencers through social media and how it can create a niche online community, yet we are unable to meet.
The influencer marketing industry is estimated to reach $22.3bn by 2024! This just shows the great impact social media has and how it only continues to increase.
Social media connects us, but also hinders us, spreading mass misinformation. It can make the world seem angry – 140 online characters isn’t enough to make a point for what might require a journal article response!
Also, humans need to listen more, yet we actually make up our mind before the first half of the conversation.
You see, the internet has its ups and downs, like anything.
Our words are already tattooed online, unforgotten.
Tech has enabled a lot of things, but has then disabled or eroded others, including basic human connection.
What can we do to change this?
- Go analogue – write instead of type. I find this to be a brilliant tool when my creativity is stifled. The words end up flowing onto the page and I can’t keep up with my thoughts!
- Human vs Machine – you are NOT the latter! Time block, take breaks, put your phone away (if you can, I know it’s hard! Try airplane mode or Do Not Disturb)
- Choose an actual book over a kindle or smart device – you know how much I LOVE the library! (and it saves you money!)
- The following point widened my eyes: remember, it isn’t all about numbers – people can buy followers. It’s sad but true It ultimately comes down to engagement: that’s the winner.
- Be yourself, on and offline. I’ve made the mistake before of trying to be someone I’m not and it really isn’t fun, nor does it work. Make your e-personality, you.
Overall, this book was okay. Like I said before, a lot of it is what I already knew. A side point, I was surprised with the amount of grammatical errors for such a teeny-tiny book.
It helps to acknowledge how we have become disconnected and what we can do about it, with some prompts along the way to help reconnect with yourself. Here are some if you feel a bit disconnected from yourself and the world:
- Go on a day out by yourself
- Look out the window on a train – I do this and totally agree. Love it.
- What criteria is important to you before engaging with someone or something online?
Whilst some of the prompts are helpful, I practice a few of my own already which help me feel happy and content. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and fatigued by the internet (a book always wins!). It’s just those small moments of quiet that can bring us back to reality and remind us that everything can be okay.
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