Getting a “Like” over Having a Life

This really shouldn’t be a surprise, but it seems as if we’ve become obsessed with sharing every little bit or our lives with whatever known and unknown people we can reach via our social media accounts.
Infographic: Likes Over Life
At least, that’s the conclusion of a new study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, co-authors of books on interpersonal communication and influencing human behavior. They conclude that more and more people are turning into “trophy hunters.” The pursuit causes results in them “losing connection with our lives in order to earn ‘likes’ and social media praise.” We have, in a sense, turned into social media “trophy hunters.”

Among their findings:

  • Nearly 3 out of 4 people admit to being rude or disconnected from others because they’re more focused on their phone than on the other person.
  • 91 percent have seen a tourist miss enjoyment in the moment trying to get it on social media—and many acknowledge doing the same thing themselves.
  • 79 percent have seen a parent undermine their own experience in a child’s life in an effort to capture the perfect post.
  • 14 percent have risked their own safety to try and get a good posting.

Then there are the more serious results of focusing on the virtual over the real:

  • Posting something online they later regret.
  • Not spending time listening to or being present with people they care about.
  • Reckless behavior while driving.

For those wanting better control over their social media habit, Grenny and Maxfield offer some tips:

  • Look at yourself. Before going to great effort to take a picture, stop and ask, “What would a reasonable third party think of me if they saw what I was doing?” It’s easy to do risky or inappropriate things when caught up in the moment. Reflecting from an outsider’s perspective can help you stay morally centered.
  • Limit your postings. The best way to stop unconsciously intruding in your life is to become conscious of it. Keep track of—and limit—how many things you post. If you post more than once a day, you probably have a problem. Most people appreciate your postings more if they come once or twice a week rather than daily—or more. If you cut off the demand you’ll naturally reduce the supply you create.
  • Snap, look and listen. Far too often, once we snap a picture in an inspiring place, we turn and leave. Fight the impulse to “call it good” just after taking a picture. Slow down. Breathe. Look around. Listen. Engage your senses and enjoy the experience not just the trophy.
  • Take a vacation from your device. Spend a day, evening, or even an hour with some physical distance from your devices. If you feel anxious, you’re on the right track. Once you fight through the initial discomfort, you’ll learn to be present and connected to your immediate environment in a way that will produce genuine happiness and enjoyment.
About Lee Stral

Lee is a marketing consultant who has specialized in Internet marketing and Web site development since the Internet first showed promise as a marketing channel. Prior to founding Essential Presence, he was partner in an integrated marketing communications agency working with technology, professional service and non-profit organizations.