Are you addicted to your iPhone or Blackberry? Can’t start your day without checking your Facebook page or Twitter account? If so, you are not alone. A survey of 1,000 Americans published last year by Retrovo found that:
- 48% of social media user respondents check or update their Facebook or Twitter during the night or as soon as they wake up
- 42% said that they check/update their Facebook, Twitter first thing in the morning
- 56% of social media users said that they need to check Facebook at least once a day, and 12% check in every couple of hours
When asked how consumers felt about being interrupted at various times by electronic (including text) messages:
- 40% said they didn’t mind being interrupted for a message
- 32% said interruption during a meal was fine
- 7% said they would even check a message during an intimate moment
While the amount of time Americans spend watching TV has remained roughly the same in the past five years, Internet use has increased by 121% in the same time frame according to a Forrester study of more than 30,000 of its customers…and in 2010, the average American spent 32 hours per month on the Internet.
After pondering these stats, I considered how much time I spend online and if that time could be better spent. My hunch proved to be right as it turns out that there are many benefits to unplugging for a while including being more efficient and courteous. Three findings that resonated with me most:
Immediately responding to every message is a waste of time– Tim Ferriss’ bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek, reveals that checking your mobile phone every time you hear the ping or see the light blink is inefficient. Instead, save more time by checking email and texts during designated times throughout the day. If you’re concerned that people will assume something horrible has happened to you because of your MO of immediate response, set an automatic reply message on your email account announcing your new check-in time policy.
Spacing out during Facetime is just plain rude- Dale Carnegie Human Relations principle #4 states that we must “Become genuinely interested in other people,” and #7 says to, “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” It has become quite common for people to completely space out during a face-to-face conversation because they are checking email, texting or answering their phone. The irony is that it often takes weeks, sometimes even months, to schedule an appointment with a prospect and yet some sales professionals appear to be preoccupied with their mobile device instead of focusing on the prospect. There is no greater offense in my opinion, so put your phone on silent.
Connect with others instead of the Internet- Many studies have found that heavy TV watchers tend to be more depressed than people who watch moderate amounts or none at all. I purport that the same can be said for technology. Try driving without your headpiece in and take in the scenery. Go for a hike with your phone on silent and relish in the fresh air and nature’s beauty.
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