Waking up with you Facebook

One of the regular themes on this blog is Information Addiction and our ever present need to be connected.
Loch Creran
There’s more evidence this week about just how connected we are, this time focussed on Facebook mobile usage and a report from IDC:

Depending on your perspective, many of the results are either depressing or confirm what you knew all along. For example, it seems that 79% of smartphone users reach for their devices within 15 minutes of waking up. A clear majority — 62% — don’t even wait 15 minutes, and grab their phones immediately. (Among 18-24 year olds, the numbers rise to 89% and 74%.)

via Mashable.

That’s right, people can’t even wait to go through their morning routine before diving in – wake-up and connect. But it’s not just about the speed of connection, it’s also about the frequency of connection, the average is 14 times a day rising to nearly 18 times a day at the weekend just for Facebook.

According to the report, the average daily time on Facebook on a smartphone is 32 min 51 sec, the total daily time communicating on a smartphone is 131 min 43 sec. That’s right, over 2 hours every day on a smartphone.

Smartphones are powerful tools that are changing the way that we interact. What concerns me is that I don’t think most people recognise it. The smartphone is only just the start of it, watch the Google Glass backlash build even before the product has been released.

Do you need a contract with your smartphone?

A number of sources have covered this story over the last few days:

My initial response on seeing the headlines was that this was some over-protective American parent who had no clue about how the real world worked (in the UK we always assume that stories like this are American). An 18-point contract? Are you mad?

Having read through the contract my opinion has completely reversed (apart from it being American, of course). This is a Mom who has thought a lot about the way that we interact with technology, the Internet, the dangers of being a teenager and the impact of all of those upon us.

If more of us followed more of these rules then many of us would be in a much better place.

Here’s the full list:

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?

2. I will always know the password.

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”. Not ever.

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person ? preferably me or your father.

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. Merry Christmas!



How many of these would make it into the contract you would write for yourself?

I particularly liked this one:

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.

For me the the Christmas and New Year break was an opportunity for another Internet and always-on detox. It felt great to be walking around the Lake District without anything to distract me from taking in the world around me (I didn’t even have a camera as it’s at the repairers).

You might think that a contract is a bit over-the-top but I like the idea, it’s all too easy to let our standards slip over time.

Cisco Connected World Techology Report

Over the last few years Cisco have produced a report on the changing attitude of people to being permanently connected.

This years report – 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report – has just been released. The report is based on two surveys, one looking into the attitudes of Gen Y, and the other looking at the attitude of IT Professionals.

At the heart of this year’s study is the smartphone and the constant connectivity it provides to work, entertainment, shopping, and friends. There are 206 bones in the human body, and the smartphone should be considered the 207th bone for Generation Y. They view smartphones as an appendage to their beings — an indispensable part of their lives, and yet they are concerned about data management and Internet security.

Who knew that 43% of British Gen Y always check there smart-phone as part of their morning ritual alongside brushing there teeth? It wasn’t much of a surprise to me having seen how many of them check their smart phone while stood at the latrine at work! The French are far less bothered about such things with only 29% always checking. It’s interesting that women are significantly more driven to be connected with 85% of them being compulsive checkers; it’s only 63% of men.

There’s a fun visualisation that enables you to calculate your data footprint, I apparently have a highly connected lifestyle. As you might expect there’s also a report highlighting some of the statistics and drawing some conclusions along with the seemingly mandatory set of Infographics including an interactive one showing the results for the different countries that took part.

The world is changing fast, there are a lot of people who don’t realise how fast.

My web detox: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC

The technology correspondent for the BBC, Rory Cellan-Jones, was challenged to a 24 hour detox from the Internet (interestingly for a series titled Lonely London). It’s a really facinating read from someone who is clearly connected for every waking hour.

How does he start his detox, he announces it on twitter of course:

My web detox

Rory then goes on to describe the highs and lows of being disconnected with some really interesting findings.

Having done this type of thing myself I think that Rory’s conclusion is similar to my own experience:

After a few days back online and sometime for reflection, I have come to a rather different conclusion. I now realise that constant connectivity, while vital for my job, has plenty of negative aspects. It shortens your attention span and could prevent you from having any sense of perspective about what is important and what isn’t. So maybe a web detox is something we should all try from time to time.

How do you think you would cope with a 24 hour detox?

Thinking about information as we do food?

I’ve written a number of times here about information overload, information addiction and information management. Here are a few of the more popular ones:

In this TED talk JP Rangaswami thinks about the parallels between food cultivation, preparation and consumption and information cultivation, preparation and consumption:

JP Rangaswami: Information is food

Now there’s some food for thought!

Some ramblings that come to mind:

  • I too am someone who’s waist is larger than it should be because my food diet isn’t what it should be. I heavily suspect that my information diet is likewise on the over-eating side of things. There’s probably a more healthy information diet somewhere that I should be following.
  • Although, the thought that there may, one day, be the equivalent of the grapefruit diet for information workers makes me shudder.
  • I snack more when I work from home because the kitchen is very close. The information kitchen is getting close to being everywhere which is why we are finding it increasingly difficult to stop snacking.
  • I like the creative process of cooking, but I’m no master-chef. Pulling together different pieces of information to create something is really rewarding, but the things I see other people doing amazes me.
  • I quite like fish and chips, it’s not the most healthy food, but it’s very enjoyable. There are some people that I follow on twitter who are like fish and chips.
  • If exercise helps the body to burn food energy, what is it that helps the brain burn information energy?

How would you answer JP Rangaswami’s question: "If you began to think of all the information that you consume the way you think of food, what would you do differently?"