“Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.”~ Yoda
What is "Digital Awareness"?
Before discussing how to increase digital awareness, it's worth asking what digital awareness is.
As the digital world comes to occupy more and more of our lives, digital awareness becomes a growing aspect of self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to understand and accurately evaluate your own personality, strengths, weaknesses, feelings, perceptions, etc.
Now that we spend over a month or more in a year on our smartphones, our awareness of how we spend our digital time can provide helpful information for our self-awareness as well. All apps are not made equal and our online presence in Insight Timer is not the same as it is on Instagram. Different apps can have different effects on our emotions.
Selling Our Consciousness
There’s a tremendous Korean expression which eloquently articulates what we’ve been doing the past few years: “정신이 팔렸다.” (Jeong-shin-e pallyeot-da). Literally, it means “one has sold his/her consciousness,” but the figurative meaning is that one has become entirely focused on something inappropriate or unnecessary.
Social Media At Its Best
Social media is full of valuable content and connection. We are the first generation in history to experience the pleasure of easily reconnecting with friends and family after being out of touch for decades. Charitable causes have benefited from using hashtags that get their cause instantly shared around the world.
Businesses are more responsive to customers than ever before thanks to the amplified ramifications of both positive and negative public comments. And many of us have experienced the instant reassurance that comes from seeing that a loved one has been “marked safe” during a disaster. The benefits of social media are indisputable. However….
Social Media’s “Dark Side” and Its Appeal
Social media users are susceptible to manipulation from both the platform creators as well as other users. From the ever-present allure of self-aggrandizement and/or self-righteous indignation to the outright manipulation of democracy, we are all waking to the dark side of social media. Brands, under the guise of digital marketing, have become experts at manipulating your brain to increase their own brand awareness among potential customers. Meanwhile social media networks feed us constant pieces of content that deliver dopamine hits (aka “likes” and "shares") and infuriating opposing political views to elicit a frothing comment - aka "engagement".
The many ways the digital world’s dark side tempts us can quickly overcome the benevolent reasons for having joined the fray. No one signed up for Facebook so they could angrily preach to their uncle about his political views. No one originally signed up for Twitter so they could fritter away their lunch hour looking at mildly humorous pictures of cats. And no one signed up for Instagram so they could scroll photos while driving and get in a car accident.
Nonetheless, here we are on this blog asking how we can increase our digital awareness.
How can Digital Awareness be Spread?
It seems like just yesterday when the virtues of “multitasking” were being touted as the solution to all our problems. The past few years have quickly brought a different tone and an understanding of just how misguided this view was - and the search for how to increase digital awareness. We are now attempting to regain a more focused and productive lifestyle. Every day another piece of content about the negative side of technology and how to “disconnect” is published. Even the woman who introduced the Facebook like button “has hired a social media manager to monitor her Facebook Page so that she doesn’t have to.”
We all know that social media isn't going anywhere though, and this is all part of a growing movement that is making people more conscious of their digital habits. We seek to help small and medium businesses grow and communicate with their audience, but we know as well as anyone that mindlessly targeting clicks with new content is a recipe for short-term success and long-term decline.
At ICC, we use marketing strategies on social channels that increase the reach of your brand as well as help users benefit. We want to be part of the transition from multitasking your way through a bombardment of brand mentions into mindful & effective way of using these networks to return to a slower but more sustainable method of reaching the target audience. Producing great content for the Korea digital marketing blog is part of that strategy.
Researchers are beginning to discover the benefits of time spent not engaging in dynamic activity. It’s the fountain of creativity, and with the advent of artificial intelligence, it won’t be long before creativity is the only advantage we have over machines. Better start cultivating it now. Here are some ideas:
How to Increase Digital Awareness: 5 Great Tips
1. Do not use your smartphone during transit.
Sure, it's the easiest way to kill time. But why do you want to kill your most valuable asset?
A great way to immediately increase your awareness - as well as your overall safety - is to use your time during transit to bring a sense of peace and focus to your life. Turn off all notifications when driving to prevent distractions. When walking, take in the sights and be aware of what’s around you. When you're on the subway, try reading a book during your trip or even meditating. You will almost certainly find that the sense of serenity that you receive will leave you enjoying your destination much more.
2. Logout of any social media accounts on your primary browser.
Habit is responsible for the majority of our behavior. Implementing even the smallest of obstacles can result in focused productivity boosts that really add up. Logging out of your social media accounts in your main browser will make it a great place for focus by preventing you from easily accessing your accounts. Login to a different profile or different browser to start conversations in social media.
3. Hide posts and unfollow accounts that make you feel anger or self-righteous indignation.
Whether you are right or not, facts couched in negative comments won’t change anyone’s mind. In fact, research shows that it only makes their false beliefs more entrenched.
Don’t let social networks drive a wedge between you and your loved ones by constantly showing you the aspects of them that make you write an angry retort. Make your social media a good fit for you by only viewing what you like about your connections. Use “Hide” functions when possible to avoid posts you would find objectionable. Stick to useful content and positive comments - and let people know on your profile page that you’re there for the connection, not the conflict.
4. Use apps to monitor time spent on your smartphone and social media.
Decide how much time you want to spend on social media each day. Quality Time for Android and Moment for iOS & Android are apps that will let you know not only how long you have been on your smartphone, but which apps you spent all your time on. This can be helpful because some of that time on the smartphone may be very productive - if you were using the right apps.
5. Shut off all of the “push” notifications you possibly can.
Yes, all. Yes, you will be fine. And yes, you can leave them on for certain applications should you so choose. But you really don’t need to. Here’s how to shut off push notifications for Android.