Social technologies develop a momentum of their own which takes individuals beyond the point of counter productivity at which they become self-defeating. While the phenomena of social technologies appeals to some of our basic human needs it also appeals to human weaknesses and reveals our insatiable appetites. Consider the following questions and issues:
- We Establish Virtual Relationships for What Gain? The motivation to accept connections, follow and be followed and to build large networks fuels many to establish virtual relationships but without an aim or purpose to achieve a specific objective. Relationships bring different gains but unless we define the “purpose and objectives” of a relationship we can quickly become caught up in a game of numbers (# of people we’re connected to, follow or follow us). Without a defined purpose the “network game” can actual create losses vs. gains. Losses to one of the most important elements of our lives, time.
- What is the Individual Objective? Much of the convenience of social networking occurs by inconveniencing others. The craze for having a large network for example, appeals to the competitive nature of human beings to be the biggest, most connected individual in any one network. People spend countless hours building the numbers in their network, not the relationships. This process ignites a flurry of invitations from numerous networks and our email boxes fill up as if to indicate some level of importance or value. Faced with all these distractions we waste valuable time sorting through the useful vs. useless communications.
- Is There A Hidden Game Appeal? Many adults are intrigued by the phenomena of social technology and will spend countless hours engaged in the game. It is a game when you consider what operators know and users do not. Operators understand the appeal of new technology when it is designed around ” basic human needs for relationships, significance and wanting not to be left out of the latest and greatest”. Knowing this operators launch new networks aimed at targeted consumer interest, new features to intrigue the masses, new functions that promise new efficiencies and network growth that promotes being able to reach more people. The masses follow the appeal and the cycle of intrigue is designed to keep the masses engaged. Network operators are motivated to establish technological relationships with their customer with the aim of drawing in the masses so the networks economic value increases.
- Is It Enslavement or Enablement? What is unique about technological advancements is that some people become enslaved by the technology while others figure out ways to be enabled. Those that create the technology do so with a purpose. The purpose is to make money using technology to appeal to the human and business needs which drive mass adoption. Much of the marketing buzz about technology promotes the benefit but never do we see the scope of our cost for adopting the latest and greatest technological advances. Technology can become a detriment to our time, our relations and our economic standing if you aren’t investing mindfully with a view to a viable outcome. Technology can also become an enabler of opportunities to leverage the medium for our own individual gains. Our gains must be definable and useful to our individual purposes and those with relationships we hope to enhance.
A purpose driven life is grounded in relationships which produce different outcomes. Enrichment comes in many different forms but the basic tenant of enrichment starts and ends with a relationship, not numbers. The Relationship Economy is about leveraging technological advances that enable us to enrich our lives and those we relate to economically, relationally, spiritually and in many other forms.
To gain enrichment we must ask ourselves “are we enslaved by technology or enabled?” What say you?
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