What would it be like if you officially unplugged yourself from the social web? If a "Human Bandwidth Manager" granted you more human bandwidth in life? If you experienced the freedom of zero voicemails, emails, texts, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers? If you only interacted with friends in real life? If you got your news and information live from the mouths of people? Sound liberating? Well, this is actually a lot more frightening than you may think...
As freakin' hilarious as this video is, there is so much truth to the content. A significant amount of people’s stress levels today are correlated with the number of unread emails, texts, and Facebook statuses. It’s tough to keep up and “it physically hurts when it [technology] goes off.” That’s why no one would blame you for wanting to visit the Human Bandwidth Manager to choose the “nuclear option” and claim social bankruptcy.
But I don’t think you will claim social bankruptcy for three reasons.
- Social media has infiltrated our culture and has become the new norm. As Fred displayed in the video, you don’t exist if Google says so.
- It’s proven that humans derive great happiness when connecting and sharing with others and the social web makes this easier than ever before.
- The “new wikipedia” gal is terrifying.
We are so quick to hate on technology and blame social media for the erosion of interpersonal skills but the alternative is scarier. Be honest, would you rather go back to not having a cell phone, Google, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, etc. and give up the endless amounts of information, access, and resources. Could you do your job as well? Would you have as many communications with your parents or kids? Would you know the exact location of the deli a friend recommended while visiting an unknown city? Unplugging is healthy but unplugged is irresponsible.
Related Read: If You Hate Technology You Must Hate Puppies Too
A better use of your time instead of hating on technology is to take necessary and intentional steps to build guardrails and boundaries around your digital communications. These 4 Steps to Squash Information Overload should help. And the ABCs Of How Leaders Can Model Effective Use Of Technology highlights better use of today’s technology and how best to strike a healthy balance.
The Social Aspects You Should Bankrupt
As humorously highlighted in the video, there are a few social behaviors that are worth bankrupting as we find ourselves in uncharted technology territory.
- Interrupting others to text.
- Staying up all night responding to emails.
- Responding to texts while driving.
- Unnecessarily extending the time it takes to complete tasks by multi-tasking. (Ex: brushing your teeth while checking Facebook.)
- Catching up online before engaging offline. (Ex: "Like a couple friends, Instagrams or something” before starting a conversation.)
- Putting value on your social worth by which celebrity (in this case Pink) retweets you.
- Not recognizing your best friend in person or knowing how to pronounce their last name.
Avoid the horror of social bankruptcy. Appreciate the benefits of the social web and be intentional about making it work for you.
Question: Would you consider claiming social bankruptcy? And why?
PS - Check out Portlandia on IFC on Thursdays at 10/9C or their YouTube channel for more side-splitting videos. In fact, this hilarious show has inspired my wife and I to take a trip to Portland, OR in October. Also Oregon is one of the remaining two U.S. states I have not visited - pretty stoked!