You have a really interesting life. Apparently, at least according to some companies, our lives are now so amazing, so packed full of interesting information that cannot be missed at any cost, that we must have Social Media streamed to us wherever we are in case we miss something important.
Social Media Makes for an Interesting Life
As a marketing professional and one that spends a good amount of their day submerged in social media channels I like to stay on top of what is happening, trends, breaking news etc. I would however, be the first to admit, my life really isn’t that interesting, not exciting enough that I can’t afford to walk away from Facebook or Twitter or any of the other platforms that remain open on my desktop throughout my working day. Some even get scanned after the working day has finished, you know, just in case. But of course that is my personal addiction to social media, and I know its one shared by many. If I’m honest with myself and you, I don’t have that much of an interesting life.
Does social media really make our lives that much more interesting though? As I puruse my Facebook wall while writing this post I notice people celebrating their wedding anniversaries, announcing that its been a while since they have had a relationship, telling me about the amazing seminar they are hosting tomorrow, sharing quotes from unknown (and probably untraceable) sources or their latest technology find. Now some of this is quite interesting, a useful distraction while I’m writing and that’s great but can I live without it? Well of course the answer is yes, none of this information is essential to me, none of this information is going to change my life. We are being conditioned to believe however, that we can’t live without this constant stream of sharing in our lives. That if we disconnect, even for a few hours that we will somehow have missed essential information and will be behind the curve. This puts me in mind of people who find it impossible to take vacation from their job because they worry that the office will fall apart without them, what they really are worried about is that it won’t, that in fact nothing much will change. The inability to walk away from Twitter or Facebook or your distraction of choice because you might lose the connection with others or that you worry they won’t notice you are gone is increasing.
An Interesting Life As A Selling Point
Now manufacturers want to use this compulsion to sell us their products. Most notably car manufacturers, in the guise of being “hip and cool” are creating the socially aware vehicle. For example Chevy & OnStar ran a commercial during the Superbowl and since that shows a young man checking the Facebook stream of the girl he has just taken on a first date – video below:
Mini has also got a similar feature allowing you to listen to your Facebook stream -
And if you actually get out of your car but still can’t stand to be away from the constant information stream of your interesting life, Fossil has a watch that connects via bluetooth to your smartphone so that you can check on what color nail polish your girlfriend just had her toes painted without taking your phone out of your pocket. This of course allows you to stay connected to your interesting life in front of others without making it look like you are complete loser, after all you are just checking the time.
Your Interesting Life – It Isn’t
All of this reminds me rather sadly of the 80′s and people who carried pagers everywhere because they wanted to give the impression that they had it “going on” – maybe they were surgeons or special forces who just had to be connected 24/7. Honestly if texting is now considered a distraction while driving and cities and states across the country are banning the act while driving, how much more distracting would it be to have your car, in all its cold, metallic, robotic, androgynous voice announce that your girlfriend just changed her relationship status to “single”?
While all this connectedness is fun from a geeky perspective, do we really need it? I think I’d rather see car manufacturers create vehicles that are safer rather than ones that will read my Twitter stream to me, because, as much of a rockstar as I might like to think of myself, I don’t have that much of an interesting life, do you?