The fine folks over at NJroute22.com are not overly judgemental – but we’re certainly not afraid to be observational.

And with those observations come along natural questions.

Not as simple as a child asking “why is the sky blue?”, but almost. Asking “why?” and “how come” are important traits for everyone, don’t you think? Too many of us these days just do – without stepping back and asking “how did it become this way and why?” As well as daring to suggest perhaps we can do without?

What draw does social media have over the populous?

Engaging… grabs you full-force and sucks you in. Brilliant manipulation of the mind. We have a few suggested theories.

1. Emotionally compelling (marketing). Most social media platforms are full of noise, as well as a lot of competition. And a lot of skill, quite frankly. But it boils down to marketing, promotion of products or people, or even basic self-promotion amongst individuals. Quite a bit is addictive in nature, hence why you encounter the phrase “dopamine hits” quite often if you’re well-read.

2. Involved either from the beginning or at an early age. Most kids under 25 have known social media from the get-go. It is their life. They’re nothing if they don’t. They know no other way. Nuts, eh?

3. Alternatively – moved from old media (TV, print, etc.) but the same psychological tactics are used but more forcefully, creatively, and much more frequently. It’s crazy that even many older people, despite remembering the days before – quickly got “absorbed” in the social media culture, and probably don’t even care to remember what it was like in the past. That’s how powerful it is.

Too much information?

We’re trying our best to establish the necessary “footprint” on social media in order to help this publication get more readers and contributors. But it’s not an easy task. And kind of stinks I even had to say it was necessary.

But you can’t just have a website anymore. Right now we have five other platforms. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. We’re likely going to start a podcast channel soon.

Honestly – we enjoy creating content, but the sheer number of ways you must distribute content these days is an enormous task. And with limited manpower, it truly restricts how much content creation one can do since we’re busy managing all the other outlets. Even with tools that help tremendously, it can be mind-numbing to say the least.

Is this progress positive or negative?

Yes, many people cheer the communication options at our disposal. Sharing. Collaborating. Crowd-sourcing. Location-based chats. Uncharted territory for humanity, really.

We don’t disagree that the innovations are quite interesting and even useful at times.

But when you step back and look at the numerous ways people communicate digitally these days – it’s overpowering a bit. One would be very hard-pressed to be involved in ALL of them. The various forums, video channels, audio podcasts, live chats, streaming video, GPS-based messaging and more – and not even including regular websites with comments, but also your own instant messages on your phone, within social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on.

You may have say 100 contacts, and 10 are on one platform. 15 on another. Five just via email. Or your parents just by phone calls or texts. How does one truly stay “in tune?”

The reality is – they cannot. It’s not sustainable, so most people usually have a few core platforms.

This could also be why younger people cannot seem to look up from their phones. We see it all the time. Their fingers going 1000 mph on the screen. Probably going between apps. I bet the younger they are – the more platforms they’re constantly refreshing.

What effect does that have on the brain long-term? Or the ability to focus and concentrate on real things in the real non-digital world?

Yes, individuals can do without most of it

If this was not a business – we wouldn’t be on any of the social media for personal use. Besides in person, face-to-face, our main private channels to communicate with others are still email and phone. Sometimes texting. And we still get our information via a web browser – much of it via RSS feeds of trusted, well-established publications.

Why?

Well, for starters – we value our time in the physical world. Building things, managing our home and family. Work almost forces us to use some social media, but we try to use it only when necessary. You have to engage your audience somewhat in a business environment. The nature of the game, I guess.

Next time you go shopping or visit some crowded area – leave your phone at home or in your car. Spend that afternoon simply observing people. Almost everyone is glued to their screens. Or constantly looking, then not looking, but the phone is either always in their hand, or in their back pockets. Non-stop notifications, dings, and beeps. All day long, every day. Amazing. And all demographics are affected.

But these pocket computers have truly become extensions of us. Whether you’re hustling on the side, or bidding on an auction, or checking stock prices, or monitoring the weather, or your health app, there are literally thousands of ways – even outside of social media that people have become dependent on their phone for.

Keyword: dependence

Again, we’re not particularly knocking this – just fascinated by how almost no stone has been unturned. There is some technology out there to make practically everything “easier” via a smartphone app.

It starts with one, then another, then another – and before one can even realize what happened – that phone has them hostage. It’s managing their whole lives. Home automation (lights, thermostats, cameras, doorbells), then food ordering, shopping lists, coupons, deals of the day, giveaways, contests, and other consumerism.

Someone is benefiting from all of them – and usually, it’s not the end user – even though they’ve been led to believe otherwise.

Of course, we cannot forget the selfies. A good chunk of the population absolutely MUST document their whole lives along with photos – “or it didn’t happen.” Gone are the days of eloquent and colorful story-telling. Because even if you were a skilled orator – most people don’t have the attention span to even listen anymore. What to do?

Cut the cord – disconnect?

10-15 years ago – people survived without the constant connectivity. Somehow things worked. That is proof enough that most people can do without.

And there’s a growing trend (albeit still very small) of people who are wary of the digital world they voluntarily placed themselves in. And they’re taking some steps back. Hopefully, more will follow – but it’s a cat and mouse scenario really. Companies are crafty these days – and psychological trickery gets better by the month.

But a clear mind is priceless. At the very least, a good baby step we suggest starts in the bedroom. Which means not bringing your phone there. It’s good for your eyes – and allows the mind to rest.

We could go on and on with this wide-ranging topic and associated struggles. But we’ll save some for another day.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

About the author

NJroute22

NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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