In terms of connectivity and communication our world has been transformed in last decade. With the advent of the Internet, a new era of communication started in early 2000s which was later compounded by social media and great innovations in mobile telecommunication industry.
Today we have to admit that we are living in a hyper-connected world with data and information available on our fingertips. With a simple touch we can access and utilize terabytes of data which is available literally for free.
And now, the entire human society is faced with even bigger challenges i.e. how to analyze this data, and how to be focused in this era of hyper-connectivity and social media revolution. In this article I will focus on the challenge of ‘Being Focused in a Hyper Connected World’.
Today students and professionals are connected with their social acquaintances via mobile phones, various texting apps, internet platforms like Emails, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Hike, YouTube, WeChat etc. And their daily duties and activities are greatly affected by this online connectivity. According to various studies an average person checks his mobile phone more than 50 times a day for various reasons. For today’s generation the first thing after getting up in the morning is to check mobile phones and so is the last thing before they go to bed.
There is Terabytes of information (Authenticated and Unauthenticated) available for their consumption in almost every possible manner. There are Photos and Videos, Blogs and Texts, Mails and Socially shared information about billions and billions of people on the internet. This presents us with a great opportunity to connect and collaborate with each other to come up with great solutions to the problems of the mankind. But it also threatens us in more ways than one; it takes away our invaluable time which otherwise would have been spent on books or sports, leisure or physical activities, offline socializing, human interaction and for social causes.
We have to objectively think – What is the utility of being connected to our acquaintances online, what should be the amount of time we spend on our social connections Vs. our Personal Development, What is the opportunity cost of being connected to friends online, What is the outcome of being connected to those strangers on the cyber world which can harm the society in an unprecedented manner, Is our online communication adversely affecting our health and well being, How is our psychological and immediate (OFFLINE) social life is affected by this online connectivity. Human being is the only species in the planet with most sophisticated communication channels, methods and tools. But we have to think that due to this hyper connectivity – Are we the most blessed species as well?
Consequences of Hyper connectivity
Today one small beep on a smart-phone can distract an individual and take away his precious time. Data shows that employees and students are not able to focus on small issues for a decent period of time and that their problem solving abilities are badly affected due to such distractions. Activities like problem solving, and analyzing complex issues require incremental amount of time to reach to the solution. Each incremental hour spent on a problem solving/creative activity becomes more and more important because that is the only way to reach a state of mind where solution appears for the first time.
Following are frequently reported problems due to this hyper connected world:
- Decreasing time of focused activity
- Less Productivity due to distraction
- Inferior Solutions
- Increased cost of production
- People having a lot information but no idea how to utilize it for their betterment
If we want our next and current generation to be relevant and productive, we need to encourage them for being focused for a long period of time at once.
Following are a few methods or techniques that one can deploy for being focused in this hyper connected world:
- Dedicated time and span for online activity: One needs to analyze his/her schedule and daily productive activities. They should abstain from any kind of social connection like Facebook and Whatsapp during their most productive hours. For example one should check these tools and platforms 15 minutes in morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon, 25 minutes in the evening. This is only a suggestion; time spent in morning/afternoon and evening on online activity may vary from person to person as they have different daily routine and different lifestyle.
- Fixed frequency: One needs to diligently define her/his own acceptable frequency for checking these social media apps. Ideally (If not used for business and personal development purpose) one should check on these apps only 3 times a day, that too not for more than 60 minutes per day.
- Utilize online platform for personal development, learning new skills, and being trained on new technologies which helps you to become a better professional or student rather than connecting with friends for gossiping, following strangers etc. There is a ton of knowledge and information available online, which can be used for our own self development so that we can realize our dreams and fulfil our aspirations.
- Goal setting for your online activities: Things like monitoring the time spent on different online activities and its repercussions, minimizing non-productive activities on the internet etc. will help students to come up with a better strategy to allocate their time for their online activities.
- Every user of internet and these social media platforms should be aware of his/her online activity because they are closely being monitored by websites like Facebook, Google, etc. These companies use this data to influence your buying behaviours. I believe now things are not bought online rather they are sold (PUSH MARKETING) online. Most of the times users end up buying things they never needed. This encourages consumerism and wasteful allocation of resources like money and time. One should be extra cautious of this phenomenon.
- Being connected to more and more online communities or groups in your own field of occupation helps individuals to remain focused about their fields of business and being aware of the industry trends. For students they should try and access online data for researching the activities performed across the globe. They should avail the benefits of watching videos/lectures/seminars, reading course materials related to their subjects and courses online.
In the end I would like to emphasize the importance of being focused by saying that – Today every bit of information is available for billions of people, and only those people will win in tomorrow’s marketplaces that are focused, well informed, and ruthlessly passionate about the work they do. And Internet might be a boon or bane in deciding that. So be focused and do not take your eyes off your goals. Internet, telecommunication and online world can tremendously help individuals professionally, economically and socially but we have to make a conscious effort for that.
Contributed by Avdhesh Shukla ( Class of 2009, IBS BANGLORE )