Do you know what ‘FOMO’ stands for? Neither did I until recently.
Fear-Of-Missing-Out. FOMO. Another four-letter acronym (make sure you get them the right way around) to describe people who are driven to twitch for their smart phones over 100 times a day. In our always-on-always-connected digital age, we can share and like at will, but it can feel hard to keep up. As this Health & Safety poster demonstrates, we can become so fearful of missing out on the latest trending topics, we might even screw up our primal fight-or-flight response! (Shared by cool news-feeders, Mashable). Whether it’s a tweet, an update, a like, an inbox alert, a direct message, a push notification, a comment-on-a-comment, or friend request, we can easily become overwhelmed by our own digital existence.
For decades, time and motion study gurus have told us how to manage our time effectively, prioritise, leave work behind and cherish our home lives. In the past 5 years, all of those ground rules have been blown apart. In the new world order, our digital lives can so easily compete for attention with our real-world lives. Could this be the end of the human race as we know it?
Mark Zuckerberg’s Sister Should Know
Having pondered these e-conundrums for sometime now, especially in trying to figure out exactly how much tech is good for me and my family, I read Dot Complicated by Randi Zuckerberg. A friend, gave this book to me, knowing how intrigued I am by what the Digital Age means to us and how we live, work, love and parent. (Note, he gave me a hard-backed book, one that you can pick up and put down, not the Kindle version. Even more appealing was the fact that the book goes perfectly with my table cloth – can you spot it?)
Aesthetics aside, reading this book reminded me of the good sense I know I started out with when it came to questions about my on-line life. Achieving what Ms Zuckerberg describes as ‘Tech-Life Balance’ made me re-assess how well I live by some important principles – here goes:
- Giving undivided attention to your loved ones is the greatest of gifts.
- Tech should make you closer to friends, not to higher numbers of ‘friends’.
- Going phone-less – put it down and leave it there, put it out of sight when you’re with others.
- Technology is not the end – it’s the means to make good happen for you and others you care about.
- Good digital habits begin at home – just like driving, what our children observe us doing will shape how they use tech as adults.
- The World Will Not End – if you are not always on-line.
So give yourself a break, now you’ve finished reading this blog post – log-out, put your tech in a cupboard and go on outside to sample the real world, I know I am!
Photo credit: Paul Keating