Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Social Network

After finally seeing "The Social Network" today (and yes, I know this makes me a "late adopter"), it really got me thinking. How different has our culture become since the launch of Facebook in 2004? For those of you who've read my blog in the past, you'll know that I'm relatively plugged in to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The interesting thing is the level of connectivity. Back in 2007, Alice Mathias wrote an opinion article lamenting the "Facebook generation" and the general lack of connectivity and how things are changing as a result of the constant online exposure. "Facebook purports to be a place for human connectivity, but it’s made us more wary of real human confrontation," Mathias says in the article. And now with the Blackberry, iPhone, etc., people are in more constant contact and connected all the time. Is this really a good thing? On one level, those who work in high-pressure jobs that require realtime responses and crisis-level action (i.e. pagers for doctors) it seems like a smart concept. But for those who simply like to have access to their network at all times, this can actually be a problem. In the New York Times this summer, an article appeared talking about teens that had serious academic consequences as a result of their compulsive behavior around Facebook. From the article, "As many as 1 in 8 Americans suffer from problematic Internet use, according to researchers at Stanford University in California." Those are crazy high numbers, although if we look at general addiction stats, those seem to fall in line.

So what to do? I know I personally check Facebook a couple of times a day, not to mention Twitter and LinkedIn and the constant vibration of texts and emails. My coworkers and I joke about "phantom vibrations," or when you think you feel the vibration of your phone and your phone isn't even in your pocket. We call this a joke, but it's not really that funny. How connected is TOO connected? That's for you to decide. If your workplace has started the migration to social media, you may already be responsible for being responsive 24/7. Another exercise in boundaries, I suppose. It will be very intriguing in the next few years to see what kind of consequences arise from compulsive access. How do you match up?

And now, here's something funny.

Be sure to check out my company, Ferguson Behavioral Health Consulting.

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Location:S Barrington Ave,Los Angeles,United States