Saturday, 4 November 2017

Guest post - Social media and blogs

I've not blogged for a while, so to kick things off here's a guest post written by a pharmacist whose identity I know but who wishes their post to be anonymous.

Social media and blogs are just what the internet was designed for.  The ability for anyone who has access to a computer anywhere to find out what someone is thinking on the other side of the world - in “real time”.

Just let that sink in. In Real Time.

Not 3 weeks later when a copy of a news paper or a journal lands on your mat.  But instantly. And it’s the views of a “small person” (in relation to a world leader).  And what’s even more amazing is that you can reply back, in real time....

Just take a moment to let that sink in.......

You can instantly communicate with someone, articulate your thoughts - disseminate ideas - discuss and learn.....all in the time it takes for a few key strokes to happen.

I would argue that this has been the greatest achievement of the late 20th/early 21st century...and...its greatest negative.

Take for instance right now.  I’m sat at a table, with my ear phones in, typing this into my phone whilst two men have a face to face conversation about all sorts whilst drinking tea or coffee.

I am totally disconnected from “reality” as I’m immersing myself about a blog to do with the digital world.

And there is one of the, if not the biggest drawback of being connected/being online. 

We lead so much of our lives online now, the lines blur and merge.  For youngsters it may even be able to not differentiate - to them it’s just life.

As more people go online - so it therefore means their work follows.  This is all good....but also bad.

People spend what seems like every waking moment cataloguing, replying, posting, liking, disagreeing, re-posting.  

There never seems to be a switch off.  Even on holiday - there seems to be an intrinsic need to take a selfie from a far flung shore or a picture of a relaxing alcoholic drink somewhere warm.

I’m just as guilty of all of the above.  I’ve been involved in the digital world from the early 1990’s, I’ve seen the evolution from message boards to social media platforms and have been involved in them all.

And whilst I still have “e-friends” from the very beginning on IRC (internet relay chat)....I’ve still not met some, across the various platforms, in real life. 

I do wonder looking back at nearly 25 years of internet connectivity and contrast to today - are we spending too much time online?

Everything is online in one form or another. 

But is this a good thing for us?

I am starting to feel that for professionals it isn’t.  We need a break from being online for our own sanity.  People seem to just live and breathe work online from the moment they turn their phone on/wake up until they go to bed/turn their phone off.

It’s instant gratification.

By that I mean you’re always checking to see what people have said, have people replied to something you posted or replied to something you have replied is extremely addictive and also very destructive.....

Instagram, snap chat (snap chat filters), Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook; where does it end????

So whilst you read this, smile at the irony of me saying “disconnect more”.......

And then disconnect - have a day off, go for a walk in the woods, go swimming, read a book and listen to the radio or your favourite music, talk to someone random. Revel in human-human interaction!

The author is a practising community pharmacist who has been qualified for 20 years.

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