Tired Generations

October 3, 2018

 

Information Saturation

 

The digital age has been marked by rapidly increasing abundance of information in all aspects of our lives. We see people sharing more and more about what they are doing, where, why, how, and with who. The reasons vary but the volume overall has been going upwards for some time. More and more devices in our lives are also sharing updates on what they are doing, statuses, and general feedback as well. The infrastructure for the modern information network has rapidly expanded as well. Our ability to keep up, however, has not been able to follow as readily. We are left with questions of what is to come as this trend continues. The advent of Internet of Things ( IoT ) means that more and more devices will be sharing information.

 

This is Big Data Age and it is building on many other advances that have been fundamentally shifting how we connect and move through the world. Will this trend continue or abet as future generations yearn for the social dynamics of the past we wonder. Many of the new trends we have seen re-imagined for application today are mixed up with the new experiences had since the original concept or remixed with complementary or extending topics. New expressions work to bring out certain emotions in us or our peers witnessing us when we use these products or services.

 

 

Digital Fatigue

 

We are all often sharing that we feel overloaded or need to disengage from the digital connection process to ground ourselves. We are growing more disconnected from the earth and organic direct connections we have come to know. The fatigue we feel takes a few specific forms. One example is when we feel a need to only be our best and most picture perfect self online because the judgement shared back from people we confide in to varying degrees causes emotional pain. Another is the constant contact modality of the services in general. Many of the connections we make do not grow stronger or even stay the same strength with time. Worse still many even fade due to time, emotional, or physical distance as we get wrapped up in more direct connections. This navigation has been getting more stressful in how we approach relationships today as well as in how we maintain the ones we already have. People are inundated with options of things they can do passively at home and it makes it harder to jump up and get out into what has or could excite us more. The stress in younger people can be felt from how we go about connecting online. The cost aspect does play a role in this dynamic, but how much is variable.

 

 

What Next

 

The question though is what will the people and devices in our lives be sharing directly and indirectly with us as well as how that balance will change based on our preference and the understanding of where we are in terms of energy and emotion. Most of us do not need to know all of the updates about how things at our homes or transportation methods are changing. Same with the minute to minute updates about what is going on in regular experiences of the people in our lives. Most take these updates only for the biggest threats with home and transit updates such as break-ins and failures. Similarly, for updates on those in our lives we connect at intervals spaced out throughout our days, weeks, or even longer for some. We are already seeing networks and systems focused on learning habits and behaviors to better know when and what to share. More recently companies are changing how the knowledge of our time online is used and being more direct with sharing how much time we are spending online. Much of the current research is saying that the feelings of depression and anxiety we feel are due to behaviors that we can change individually.

 

The idea of IoT can steer up feelings of vulnerability, corporate invasion into our space, and lack of control over where our lives are going. Choosing to disconnect feels like the best options. It becomes harder as friends and neighborhoods engage more increasingly. The desire to connect is not the same in all of us. The reasons why also differ. More organic activities and better connection maintenance will continue to be key as we go further into this digital age. Groups and sites that focus on meeting up in person are a great way to build connections, though they do require more time and resources, the positive effects they can have on our mental health when we feel supported can not be understated. There are applications that help you focus on a specific task or goal as well as monitor how much you are using the services that might be feeling like a burden after too much time spent on them.

 

As we continue forward the need to connect in ways that speak to us will deepen and finding systems that support us will remain key. Think back to when we were younger and try to feel the same as you did then. If you feel you have grown negatively in the activity based on skills or points of view examine how you are connecting with the feedback from those around you. If you have grown positively think what you would share with your younger self and how much you have done to get here. If you feel the same, be that good or bad, sit with why and explore if other parts of your experience in this activity have changed. As we grow and the world around us changes it can help to stay rooted in the things that gave us joy in moments past.

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