Constantly posting content on social media can erode your privacy—and sense of self.Photograph: Luka Milanovic/Getty Images
Without the ability to find out how their identity is ricocheting around the virtual world, people often feel a fight-or-flight response when they’ve been online for many hours—and even after they’ve logged off.
“It’s kind of an adapted hyper-vigilance. As soon as you send something out into the virtual world, you’re sort of sitting on pins and needles waiting for a response,” Lembke says. “That alone—that kind of expectancy—is a state of hyperarousal. How will people respond to this? When will they respond? What will they say?”It would be one thing if only you saw any negative reactions, Lembke says, but they’re often available for everyone to see. She says this exacerbates feelings of shame and self-loathing that are already “endemic” in the modern world.We are social creatures, and our brains evolved to form communities, communicate with each other, and work together. We have not evolved to expose ourselves to the judgment of the whole world on a daily basis. These things affect everyone differently, but it’s clear many people regularly feel overwhelmed by this exposure level.
If we’re not careful, our online lives can become a source of chronic stress that subtly seeps into everything. Everyone needs some privacy, but we often don’t provide it for ourselves and end up feeling like we’re constantly battling invisible enemies.
There are things you can do for yourself, however. You can turn off your notifications for social media apps, reduce how much time you spend on them, limit when you allow yourself to use them, and more. Goodman says it sometimes helps to keep your phone in the other room so you’re not so easily tempted to pick it up.Lembke says we need to change how we think about social media and internet use as a society. She calls it a “collective” problem, not just an individual one.“We need to come up with a kind of cultural etiquette around what appropriate and healthy consumption is, just like we have for other consumptive problems,” Lembke says. “We have nonsmoking areas. We don’t eat ice cream for breakfast. We have all kinds of laws around who can buy and consume alcohol, who can go into a casino. We need guardrails for these digital products, especially for minors.”
Last year, tech companies couldn’t get enough of letting you use their products less.
Executives at Apple and Google unveiled on-device features to help people monitor and restrict how much time they spent on their phones. Facebook and Instagram, two of the biggest time sucks on the planet, also rolled out time spent notifications and the ability to snooze their apps — new features meant to nudge people to scroll through their apps a little less mindlessly.
These companies all became fluent in the language of “time well spent,” a movement to design technology that respects users’ time and doesn’t exploit their vulnerabilities. Since the movement sprang up nearly seven years ago, it has invoked mass introspection and an ongoing debate over technology use, which people blame for a swath of societal ills including depression and suicide, diminished attention spans, and decreased productivity.
But a year after Big Tech rolled out their time-well-spent features, it doesn’t seem like they’re working: The time we spend on our devices just keeps increasing.
Fortunately, the problem might not be that bad in the first place. Though correlations exist, there’s no causal link between digital media usage and the myriad problems some speculate it causes.
“Every time new tech comes out, there’s a moral panic that this is going to melt our brains and destroy society,” Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, told Recode. “In almost every case, we sort of look back at these things and laugh.”
What “time well spent” has done is spurred a whole cottage industry to help people “digitally detox,” and it’s being led in part by the big tech companies responsible for — and that benefit from — our reliance on tech in the first place. As Quartz writer Simone Stolzoff put it, “‘Time well spent’ is having its Kendall Jenner Pepsi moment. What began as a social movement has become a marketing strategy.”
Politicians are also jumping on the dogpile. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has proposed a bill to reduce what some call social media addiction by banning infinite scrolling and autoplay and by automatically limiting users to spending a maximum of 30 minutes a day on each platform. The bill currently has no cosponsors and is unlikely to go to a vote, but does demonstrate that the topic is on lawmakers’ radar.
These efforts, however, have yet to dent our insatiable need for tech.
The data on device usage
American adults spent about 3 hours and 30 minutes a day using the mobile internet in 2019, an increase of about 20 minutes from a year earlier, according to measurement company Zenith. The firm expects that time to grow to over four hours in 2021. (Top smartphone users currently spend 4 hours and 30 minutes per day on those devices, according to productivity software company RescueTime, which estimates average phone usage to be 3 hours and 15 minutes per day).
We’re spending more time online because pastimes like socializing that used to happen offline are shifting online, and we’re generally ceding more of our days to digital activities.
The overall time Americans spend on various media is expected to grow to nearly 11 hours per day this year, after accounting for declines in time spent with other media like TV and newspapers that are increasingly moving online, according to Zenith. Mobile internet use is responsible for the entirety of that growth.
Nearly a third of Americans said they are online “almost constantly” in 2019, a statistic that has risen substantially across age groups since the study was conducted the year before.
Not all our online activities are on the uptick, however.
Online measurement company SimilarWeb has found that time spent with some of the most popular social media apps, like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, has declined in the wake of “time well spent” efforts — though the decline could instead reflect the waning relevance of those social media behemoths. At least for now, the average amount of time on those apps is still near historic highs:
Since overall time spent online is going up, the data suggests we’re just finding other places online to spend our time, like with newer social media like TikTok or with online video games.
Some have argued that sheer time spent isn’t important psychologically, but rather it’s what we’re doing with that time online. And what we’re doing is very fragmented.
Rather than use our devices continually, we tend to check them throughout the day. On average, people open their phones 58 times a day (and 30 of those times are during the workday), according to RescueTime. Most of those phone sessions are under two minutes.
Even on our phones, we don’t stick to one thing. A recent study published in the journal Human-Computer Interaction found that people switched on average from one screen activity to another every 20 seconds.
And what’s the result of all these hours of fragmented activity? Just one in 10 people RescueTime surveyed said they felt in control of how they spend their day.
What to do with our growing smartphone usage
It’s tough to separate finger-wagging judgments about tech from valid concerns about how tech could be degrading our lives. But the perception, at least, that tech is harming our lives seems to be very real.
Numerous articles instruct people on how to put down their phones. And richer Americans — including the people making the technology in the first place — are desperately trying to find ways to have their kids spend less time with screens.
MIT’s Zuckerman suggests building better “pro-civic social media,” since he thinks it’s already clear we’re going to spend lots of our time online anyway.
“I am deeply worried about the effects of the internet on democracy. On the flip side, I was deeply worried about democracy before everyone was using the internet,” he said. “What we probably have to be doing is building social media that’s good for us as a democracy.”
This social media would emphasize the best aspects of social media and would better defend against scourges like content that promotes political polarization and misinformation. He gave the example of gell.com, which uses experts to outline arguments for and against major social issues, and then encourages user participation to further develop and challenge the ideas.
Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, thinks we’re overusing the language of addiction when it comes to technology usage. If we really want to limit our technology usage, he told Recode, solutions are close at hand.
“We want to think that we’re getting addicted because an addiction involves a pusher, a dealer — someone’s doing it. Whereas when we call it what it really is, which is distraction — now in the US, we don’t like to face that fact — that means we have to do something that’s no fun,” Eyal said.
Instead of blaming tech companies, he asks people, “Have you tried to turn off notifications, for God’s sake? Have you planned your day so that you don’t have all this white space where you’re free to check your phone all the time?”
For those who are addicted — a percentage he says is probably in line with the portions of the population that are addicted to anything else, like alcohol or gambling — he thinks tech companies should notify users that they’re in the top percentiles of usership and offer them resources, such as software tools and professional assistance (and his book).
In the meantime, the time we spend on our digital devices will continue to increase, and there’s still a need for conclusive research about whether that actually matters. Perhaps while we wait for clarity, we can turn off our notifications about how much time we spend on our phones.
In einer Studie der Universität Zürich in Zusammenarbeit mit Coundco, Lithium Technologies, SAP, Netconomy und Etecture wurde nach den wichtigsten Metriken zur Erfolgsmessung im Social-Media-Marketing gefragt. Hier das Ergebnis.
Hierunter kann die Zahl der Fans, Follower und Subscriber fallen, aber auch die Zahl der Views bei einem Video etc.
Meint den Anteil an Fans, die sich direkt in den Social Media beteiligen (durch Kommentare, Replies etc.) oder zumindest mit Beiträgen interagieren (Liken, Favorisieren etc.). Wird auch als Engagement Rate bezeichnet.
Viele Firmen ziehen Maßzahlen zum Traffic heran, der durch die Social Media auf der eigenen Homepage erzeugt wurde. Dazu gehört die Zahl der Besuche, die Verweildauer und die Views.
Social Signals werden für die Suchergebnisse von Google immer wichtiger. Entsprechend kann dies auch in die KPIs mit einfließen.
Sentiment-Analysen versuchen, die Stimmungslage bezüglich eines Unternehmens, einer Marke oder eines Produkts in den Social Media zu erfassen. Dazu wird zum Beispiel die Wortwahl der User automatisch untersucht.
Die Konversionsrate bestimmt das Verhältnis zwischen der Zahl aller Besucher eines Social-Media-Auftritts und der Zahl derjenigen, die dort die vom Unternehmen gewünschten Handlungen tätigen, wie Kauf, Newsletteranmeldung etc.
How writing about your own industry makes You an Irresistible Job Candidate?
But the truth is, not everyone has the time, writing ability or even confidence to grow a quality blog or social media account, and plenty of people who don’t have a blog still want to move up the career ladder, into more challenging and better-paying positions.
What if there was a way to show the world just how smart you are, without creating your own content?
Well, there is, and it’s a tactic you should seriously consider: sharing other people’s content.
Whether you curate on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr or all of the above, here are five things sharing content created by others says about you — and why it can move your career forward.
1. You know your industry inside and out.
When you share an abundance of interesting information, people begin to realize you know your stuff. Not only do you know what’s going on, but you understand what’s valuable to people in your industry and what they want to read, which is just as important.
Even if you don’t consider yourself highly knowledgeable on a certain topic — if, for example, you’re looking to change careers and are using your online presence to pivot — you’ll become knowledgeable on that topic as you sift through blogs and tweets looking for quality information to share. In other words, curating content can help you become an authority in your field and help others see you as an authority.
2. You’re innovative.
Not only do you use the latest social tools to share advice and ideas, the information you share is often about your industry’s latest trends and developments, which suggests you’re forward thinking.
Anyone can say in an interview that they like to follow tech trends, but serving your community as a content curator shows the hiring manager you’re serious about learning, brainstorming and innovating.
3. You enjoy helping others.
So many people talk about themselves on social media. You’ll stand out if you get off the soapbox and instead offer helpful, valuable information, giving props to whoever created it.
This is helpful not only to the minions who read your tweets, but also to the industry leaders who wrote the blog post, tweets or updates to begin with, since you’re helping spread their content and ideas. Those thought leaders will likely appreciate your efforts and might even look to connect further with you, which could lead to more opportunities.
See why being generous online is one of the best things you can do for yourself?
4. You’re familiar with the big (and little) players in your field.
Knowing who the thought-leaders are in your field and where they hang out is just as important — if not more — than being in-the-know about innovative developments. Why? Because those people likely are part of those developing trends, or at least talking about them. In many ways, they are the trends.
In their book The Startup of You, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote, “If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for people.” Knowing who’s doing what in your industry can go a long way toward helping you take the next step in your career. Curating content is a solid way to keep up with what everyone’s doing.
5. In some cases, you have access to those industry players.
Know what every employer wants more than an awesome, skilled employee? An awesome, skilled employee who knows people. Every one of your connections means a connection for your company.
If you don’t know any of the major players in your industry now, look to create those connections through sharing other people’s content. Your generosity could lead to online conversations with those people as they leave comments on your blog posts or reply to you through Twitter. Really want to get on their radar? Try an email introduction after you’ve mentioned that contact on your blog or Twitter, with the hope that they’ll recognize your name.
If you’re keen to give this a go, you’re probably wondering: What’s the best way to find quality information to share with your growing online community?
Try using an RSS tool like Feedly, organizing tweeps who share valuable information into Twitter lists, and streamlining the sharing process with apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Twitterfeed. Before you know it, you’ll be the one who people in your industry turn to for all the best information, which makes you that much more marketable.
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