Is Social Media stealing our thinking time?

mind power








I read an article in Early to Rise this morning by Clay Collins – The Battle for our Minds, I am not going to steal Clay’s thunder by commenting in detail on his article, but it is worth reading.

He proposes a theory “The paradox of Intelligence” arguing that the more intelligent you are, the less of your mind power you have control over, because you will be more engaged mentally in your work and probably work longer hours than people in manual jobs.

This theory stuck in my mind all day, I am fortunate in that I still have a 2 hour a day involvement in farming in Spring and early summer which takes me away from the computer, social media and busy work and into the fresh air and bright sunlight. There is something relaxing and calming about spending a couple of hours watching young plants grow that is a real tonic for the brain. The time outdoors looking at the crops,  riding my horses and cutting wood are where I do most of my thinking.

I think he is correct, the more mentally demanding our careers or jobs are, the less time we have for “free wheeling” mental activity, letting our thoughts go where they want instead of continually focusing on our business or jobs.

The advances in technology are aggravating the problem. Before smart phones, laptops and social media, we used to leave most of our work at work. Now the boundaries are blurred, especially for the increasing numbers of us working from home. We no longer have a physical distance between home and the office. No commute to switch off from work.

Social Media plays a huge part in this too. I have written before that engagement in social media is never-ending, we can stay busy 24 hours a day if we want, tweeting, chatting, pinning or updating, it can be relaxing, some of it can be productive, but it is guaranteed to seduce us away from serious thinking. Although I schedule time for the social media platforms that I am active on and control that time with both a cheap kitchen timer and a programme called Rescue Time  (which is a wonderful productivity tool but will shock you when you first use it and realise how unproductive you are) I still leave Skype permanently on-line because it is the only communication channel I have with our sons in Zimbabwe.

A few of the projects I am involved with use Skype chat groups extensively, I am finding that the continual beep of another incoming Skype chat is very disruptive. So much so that while writing this post I have had to take Skype off -line. Yet another example of technology creating even less thinking time.

My prediction is that more and more people are going to realise that technological advances are not leading to an improvement in quality of life, that social media burnout will become more frequent and that we have to strive for a better balance in our lives.

It is going to be interesting to see how this all develops over the next few years.

What do you think? Will social media become more important in most people’s lives or will it reach a peak and decline in importance?

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Peter Wright



Photograph :

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, AndrewHorne at the wikipedia project


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