Phone > Email > Text > SMS > Blogging > Facebook > Video > Twitter: that’s a quick & dirty look at the basic evolution of our communication channels over the past few years. We’ve grown faster, smarter, technologically savvy, and more efficient with the tools and services we use to communicate with one another in this digital era.
This sort of hyper-connectivity leaves seemingly little time-waste when it comes to responding to one our colleague’s tweets or a friend’s message (or numerous fan page requests) on Facebook. But as we continue to get deeper into the social media realm, I’ve heard just as much talk that our hyper-connected lives have actually made us become disconnected, with the real world.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a technophile and practically sleep with my laptop and iPhone. People who know me online (and off) realize that I am constantly connected online, have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the social media space, and studying how companies are utilizing it successfully, or not. It’s who I am, it’s in my genes, and it’s what’s helped me get this far in my career, as I continue to try to make waves.
With that though beckons the questions of this lifestyle:
· Are we sometimes too hyper-connected?
· Do we pass up opportunities in real-life because we’re tending to online activities?
· Are we not spending enough time away from technology?
We’ve built respected communities online that we connect with on a daily basis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re no more real than the people and activities we take part in outside of our home. Where should the line be drawn and a balance created with our online activity and “outside-the-internet” lives? Or has that line evolved into a blur?
What I’ve come to realize is that this tech/social media world isn’t for everyone. It pushes people to different levels – working on nights & weekends, creating proposals, continually writing fresh content (as I write this on a Sunday night), responding to tweets all times of the day – the list goes on. Hyper-connectivity has become somewhat of a prerequisite in this industry and can be seen as unbalance or overwhelming to the outside eye.
But what’s your perspective – how do you see your online activity? Are you bettering your experiences & skills and building trust within your circles through constant activity, or do you think those who question the technophile’s lifestyle are right? Do you feel that we should find a better balance between these respective worlds?

This is a guest post from Sonny Gill, a social media strategist and community guy whose passion for this space can be well documented through his career experience, as well as via his blog SonnyGill.comYou can also find him as @sonnygill on Twitter, and writing for his second passion, basketball, at RockinTheRim.com.

Phone > Email > Text > SMS > Blogging > Facebook > Video > Twitter: that’s a quick and dirty look at the basic evolution of our communication channels over the past few years.

We’ve grown faster, smarter, technologically savvy, and more efficient with the tools and services we use to communicate with one another in this digital era.

This sort of hyper-connectivity leaves seemingly little time-waste when it comes to responding to one our colleague’s tweets or a friend’s message (or numerous fan page requests) on Facebook. But as we continue to get deeper into the social media realm, I’ve heard just as much talk that our hyper-connected lives have actually made us become disconnected, with the real world.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a technophile and practically sleep with my laptop and iPhone. People who know me online (and off) realize that I am constantly connected online, have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the social media space, and studying how companies are utilizing it successfully, or not.

It’s who I am, it’s in my genes, and it’s what’s helped me get this far in my career, as I continue to try to make waves. With that though beckons the questions of this lifestyle:

  • Are we sometimes too hyper-connected?
  • Do we pass up opportunities in real-life because we’re tending to online activities?
  • Are we not spending enough time away from technology?

We’ve built respected communities online that we connect with on a daily basis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re no more real than the people and activities we take part in outside of our home. Where should the line be drawn and a balance created with our online activity and “outside-the-Internet” lives? Or has that line evolved into a blur?

What I’ve come to realize is that this tech/social media world isn’t for everyone. It pushes people to different levels – working on nights and weekends, creating proposals, continually writing fresh content (as I write this on a Sunday night), responding to tweets all times of the day – the list goes on.

Hyper-connectivity has become somewhat of a prerequisite in this industry and can be seen as unbalance or overwhelming to the outside eye.

But what’s your perspective – how do you see your online activity?

Are you bettering your experiences & skills and building trust within your circles through constant activity, or do you think those who question the technophile’s lifestyle are right? Do you feel that we should find a better balance between these respective worlds?

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68 comments
LeahROlson
LeahROlson

#J361 Hyper-Connected or Disconnected? - http://shar.es/1egqg Missing out on real life because of too much internet tending?
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Lucy
Lucy

Social media, connectivity, communication via multiple channels. Yeah. It is what extending my bellbottom jeans with flares of fabric was to my parents. It is what is a defining separation between generations. Being on the age fence, for now anyway, I find myself lacking focus, routine, and priority when it comes to my checklist of check-ins. It is overwhelming, overstimulating and difficult to race along keeping up with the next thing to add to the bookmark toolbar... hmmm.. or which app to use to organize my daily bookmarks...

Lucy
Lucy

Social media, connectivity, communication via multiple channels. Yeah. It is what extending my bellbottom jeans with flares of fabric was to my parents. It is what is a defining separation between generations. Being on the age fence, for now anyway, I find myself lacking focus, routine, and priority when it comes to my checklist of check-ins. It is overwhelming, overstimulating and difficult to race along keeping up with the next thing to add to the bookmark toolbar... hmmm.. or which app to use to organize my daily bookmarks...

Lucy
Lucy

Social media, connectivity, communication via multiple channels. Yeah. It is what extending my bellbottom jeans with flares of fabric was to my parents. It is what is a defining separation between generations. Being on the age fence, for now anyway, I find myself lacking focus, routine, and priority when it comes to my checklist of check-ins. It is overwhelming, overstimulating and difficult to race along keeping up with the next thing to add to the bookmark toolbar... hmmm.. or which app to use to organize my daily bookmarks...

Lucy
Lucy

Social media, connectivity, communication via multiple channels. Yeah. It is what extending my bellbottom jeans with flares of fabric was to my parents. It is what is a defining separation between generations. Being on the age fence, for now anyway, I find myself lacking focus, routine, and priority when it comes to my checklist of check-ins. It is overwhelming, overstimulating and difficult to race along keeping up with the next thing to add to the bookmark toolbar... hmmm.. or which app to use to organize my daily bookmarks...
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servantofchaos
servantofchaos

I used to see the work-life balance as either/or. But I think that is a construct as much as anything else. The challenge is just finding the balance that works for you.

servantofchaos
servantofchaos

I used to see the work-life balance as either/or. But I think that is a construct as much as anything else. The challenge is just finding the balance that works for you.

Name unavailable
Name unavailable

I used to see the work-life balance as either/or. But I think that is a construct as much as anything else. The challenge is just finding the balance that works for you.
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Promotional Products
Promotional Products

I think this is become almost an epidemic with all the technology that is at our fingertips. We have forgotten about the traditional methods that have been successful for many, many years and I think it is making consumers feel disenchanted and unvalued about the company's they do business with.

Promotional Products
Promotional Products

I think this is become almost an epidemic with all the technology that is at our fingertips. We have forgotten about the traditional methods that have been successful for many, many years and I think it is making consumers feel disenchanted and unvalued about the company's they do business with.

Promotional Products
Promotional Products

I think this is become almost an epidemic with all the technology that is at our fingertips. We have forgotten about the traditional methods that have been successful for many, many years and I think it is making consumers feel disenchanted and unvalued about the company's they do business with.

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

I think it just gets down to human nature and our need to connect with a community that we feel a part of. We want to somehow connect our real lives with those people that we talk to solely online.

It's undoubtedly consumed our lives, but is that to the fault of us or the technology? As this industry requires a strong tech/online presence.

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

I think it just gets down to human nature and our need to connect with a community that we feel a part of. We want to somehow connect our real lives with those people that we talk to solely online.It's undoubtedly consumed our lives, but is that to the fault of us or the technology? As this industry requires a strong tech/online presence.

Tim Jahn
Tim Jahn

In my opinion, the always-connectedness and instant reach of our online community has caused us to share everything with folks all over the world online.But as you said Sonny, why not just enjoy the time with the people you're with? Why do we put such emphasis on the online side of things and not the physical world? In other words, why are we tempted like you Sonny to tweet things during real life events (and basically choose online over real life) rather than do real life things instead of tweeting?Hmm..I hope that makes sense!

Tim Jahn
Tim Jahn

In my opinion, the always-connectedness and instant reach of our online community has caused us to share everything with folks all over the world online.

But as you said Sonny, why not just enjoy the time with the people you're with?

Why do we put such emphasis on the online side of things and not the physical world? In other words, why are we tempted like you Sonny to tweet things during real life events (and basically choose online over real life) rather than do real life things instead of tweeting?

Hmm..I hope that makes sense!

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

Great comments all around and we all agree upon the balance needed to have a successful and healthy life, online and off.How about a flip question - have you had to explain to your loved ones or family members that much of your work and communication takes place online and that you connect with hundreds of people each week? Our internet world is still off-beat and not the norm in many people's eyes, how do we help further people's understanding of what we do and why we do it? Visual explanation? An hour long conference with your loved ones trying to explain what Twitter is and why you blog about it? :)

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

Great comments all around and we all agree upon the balance needed to have a successful and healthy life, online and off.How about a flip question - have you had to explain to your loved ones or family members that much of your work and communication takes place online and that you connect with hundreds of people each week? Our internet world is still off-beat and not the norm in many people's eyes, how do we help further people's understanding of what we do and why we do it? Visual explanation? An hour long conference with your loved ones trying to explain what Twitter is and why you blog about it? :)

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

Great comments all around and we all agree upon the balance needed to have a successful and healthy life, online and off.

How about a flip question - have you had to explain to your loved ones or family members that much of your work and communication takes place online and that you connect with hundreds of people each week? Our internet world is still off-beat and not the norm in many people's eyes, how do we help further people's understanding of what we do and why we do it? Visual explanation? An hour long conference with your loved ones trying to explain what Twitter is and why you blog about it? :)

kmskala
kmskala

What about the thought that being connected online makes us more connected with what's going on offline? With how quickly news spreads online, I've found myself being able to keep up with what's going on in the "real world" a lot easier by being online. Take basketball, Sonny. The only reason I've been able to keep up with the rumors and who's going where is because I'm online. I've gotten more info from Twitter than I have from ESPN or SI. The fact that our world is transitioning into a more streamlined connection, I'm focusing more of my attention online.But I do agree that there needs to be a healthy balance. I do need time to shut things down, grab a bite to eat/beer with family & friends. If you want to be a well-rounded PR professional, you need a healthy blend of both. No matter how great you are online, you still need that personal connection. You still need to be able to form a meaningful relationship face-to-face. If you're IT, maybe the personal touch isn't valuable.Life is about a healthy balance.

kmskala
kmskala

What about the thought that being connected online makes us more connected with what's going on offline? With how quickly news spreads online, I've found myself being able to keep up with what's going on in the "real world" a lot easier by being online. Take basketball, Sonny. The only reason I've been able to keep up with the rumors and who's going where is because I'm online. I've gotten more info from Twitter than I have from ESPN or SI. The fact that our world is transitioning into a more streamlined connection, I'm focusing more of my attention online.But I do agree that there needs to be a healthy balance. I do need time to shut things down, grab a bite to eat/beer with family & friends. If you want to be a well-rounded PR professional, you need a healthy blend of both. No matter how great you are online, you still need that personal connection. You still need to be able to form a meaningful relationship face-to-face. If you're IT, maybe the personal touch isn't valuable.Life is about a healthy balance.

kmskala
kmskala

What about the thought that being connected online makes us more connected with what's going on offline? With how quickly news spreads online, I've found myself being able to keep up with what's going on in the "real world" a lot easier by being online. Take basketball, Sonny. The only reason I've been able to keep up with the rumors and who's going where is because I'm online. I've gotten more info from Twitter than I have from ESPN or SI. The fact that our world is transitioning into a more streamlined connection, I'm focusing more of my attention online.

But I do agree that there needs to be a healthy balance. I do need time to shut things down, grab a bite to eat/beer with family & friends. If you want to be a well-rounded PR professional, you need a healthy blend of both. No matter how great you are online, you still need that personal connection. You still need to be able to form a meaningful relationship face-to-face. If you're IT, maybe the personal touch isn't valuable.

Life is about a healthy balance.

kristinathorpe
kristinathorpe

RT @sonnygill Lucky to guest post @dannybrowns blog yest.I ask if our hyper-connectivity has led 2 a real life disconnect http://is.gd/1IUci
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CBWhittemore
CBWhittemore

RT @Narciso17: Gd Reminder Fr @SonnyGill Being Plugged In All Time is Not Yr Best Option http://bit.ly/QqCjF (h/t @DannyBrown for Sharing)
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Narciso17
Narciso17

Good Reminder Fm @SonnyGill That Being Plugged In All The Time is Not Your Best Option http://bit.ly/QqCjF (h/t @DannyBrown for Sharing)
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Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

It definitely is a personal experience that we all go through. I've gone through similar feelings as well when I feel sometimes 'too' connected and just need to get away for a bit. And it helps in our learning experiences, as you said, and how we further evolve and understand the balance that fits best for us.We know you've been hyper-connected as of late, and it's been great cause I (as well as others I'm sure) have been able to get to know you better as a person and with what you're looking for in your career.Keep it up, smarty ;)

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

It definitely is a personal experience that we all go through. I've gone through similar feelings as well when I feel sometimes 'too' connected and just need to get away for a bit. And it helps in our learning experiences, as you said, and how we further evolve and understand the balance that fits best for us.

We know you've been hyper-connected as of late, and it's been great cause I (as well as others I'm sure) have been able to get to know you better as a person and with what you're looking for in your career.

Keep it up, smarty ;)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

It's like the guys that go to conferences and start live tweeting the minute they arrive. Yes, it's nice to know what's going on, but sometimes I feel it's almost a contest to who can say something to their friends first. How about just enjoying the conference and tweet occasionally with really worthwhile news, and not that Speaker X just made a joke, or Speaker Y looks different in real life? ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

It's like the guys that go to conferences and start live tweeting the minute they arrive. Yes, it's nice to know what's going on, but sometimes I feel it's almost a contest to who can say something to their friends first. How about just enjoying the conference and tweet occasionally with really worthwhile news, and not that Speaker X just made a joke, or Speaker Y looks different in real life? ;-)

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

You make a good counter-point to the thought that we're better people because of these tools. You may be unconvinced for your own situation, but I think it really depends on the individual and what that person accomplished online and how it effected their life/career overall.

I love your point about being at a concert and everyone nowadays having their cell phones out, live-streaming, tweeting, etc. I was watching UFC 100 with my cousins a few weeks ago and I was about to pull out my laptop to tweet while watching it but then literally thought to myself "why not just spend time w/them and solely with them?" So, I did and we had a blast - and it felt nice to disconnect, which I try to do most weekends.

What I've seen is that the more I've been using these tools, the better of a balance I've found for myself.

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

You make a good counter-point to the thought that we're better people because of these tools. You may be unconvinced for your own situation, but I think it really depends on the individual and what that person accomplished online and how it effected their life/career overall.I love your point about being at a concert and everyone nowadays having their cell phones out, live-streaming, tweeting, etc. I was watching UFC 100 with my cousins a few weeks ago and I was about to pull out my laptop to tweet while watching it but then literally thought to myself "why not just spend time w/them and solely with them?" So, I did and we had a blast - and it felt nice to disconnect, which I try to do most weekends.What I've seen is that the more I've been using these tools, the better of a balance I've found for myself.

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

I'm not surprised at that report, honestly. We definitely become consumer it what seems like our '2nd life' in the e-world.The difference I would want to make clear is that having a huge presence online is truly beneficial as you meet people and companies that otherwise you would never have had contact with. I can openly admit that my hyper-connectivity has helped me get to where I am today, but with that comes the balance and becoming too consumed in the Internet life.Thanks again for the chance to talk with your awesome readers, Danny!

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

I'm not surprised at that report, honestly. We definitely become consumer it what seems like our '2nd life' in the e-world.

The difference I would want to make clear is that having a huge presence online is truly beneficial as you meet people and companies that otherwise you would never have had contact with. I can openly admit that my hyper-connectivity has helped me get to where I am today, but with that comes the balance and becoming too consumed in the Internet life.

Thanks again for the chance to talk with your awesome readers, Danny!

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

Lindsay - that's a great example at you don't let the tools take over your life, but yet, better the connections that you have with not only business friends but your family members as well!

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

Lindsay - that's a great example at you don't let the tools take over your life, but yet, better the connections that you have with not only business friends but your family members as well!

Teresa Basich
Teresa Basich

Wooo! Great topic, Sonny -- one I've been thinking about a lot lately. I think finding the balance between online connectivity and real life experience is a personal endeavor, and is unique to all of us.In my own case, my hyperconnectivity (you could definitely call it that right now) has put me in touch with amazing people who've improved both my personal and professional lives, and I feel the need to keep up with them regularly. But, I do have moments when the connectivity gets to me -- feeling a bit of it now, really -- and I've learned to listen to those feelings. To a large degree, those moments help me analyze my interactions and figure out what it is that's really bothering me -- is it really just about being online? Or are the uncomfortable feelings because I'm not managing my relationships very well?There's a natural ebb and flow to engagement, though, whether it's on- or offline. I feel it's important to step away every now and then, or, at the least, make sure your technophile behavior enhances your life. But, as long as you're not endangering your relationships and you're happy and productive, what does it matter?

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

It definitely is a personal experience that we all go through. I've gone through similar feelings as well when I feel sometimes 'too' connected and just need to get away for a bit. And it helps in our learning experiences, as you said, and how we further evolve and understand the balance that fits best for us.We know you've been hyper-connected as of late, and it's been great cause I (as well as others I'm sure) have been able to get to know you better as a person and with what you're looking for in your career.Keep it up, smarty ;)

Teresa Basich
Teresa Basich

Wooo! Great topic, Sonny -- one I've been thinking about a lot lately. I think finding the balance between online connectivity and real life experience is a personal endeavor, and is unique to all of us.In my own case, my hyperconnectivity (you could definitely call it that right now) has put me in touch with amazing people who've improved both my personal and professional lives, and I feel the need to keep up with them regularly. But, I do have moments when the connectivity gets to me -- feeling a bit of it now, really -- and I've learned to listen to those feelings. To a large degree, those moments help me analyze my interactions and figure out what it is that's really bothering me -- is it really just about being online? Or are the uncomfortable feelings because I'm not managing my relationships very well?There's a natural ebb and flow to engagement, though, whether it's on- or offline. I feel it's important to step away every now and then, or, at the least, make sure your technophile behavior enhances your life. But, as long as you're not endangering your relationships and you're happy and productive, what does it matter?

Teresa Basich
Teresa Basich

Wooo! Great topic, Sonny -- one I've been thinking about a lot lately. I think finding the balance between online connectivity and real life experience is a personal endeavor, and is unique to all of us.

In my own case, my hyperconnectivity (you could definitely call it that right now) has put me in touch with amazing people who've improved both my personal and professional lives, and I feel the need to keep up with them regularly. But, I do have moments when the connectivity gets to me -- feeling a bit of it now, really -- and I've learned to listen to those feelings. To a large degree, those moments help me analyze my interactions and figure out what it is that's really bothering me -- is it really just about being online? Or are the uncomfortable feelings because I'm not managing my relationships very well?

There's a natural ebb and flow to engagement, though, whether it's on- or offline. I feel it's important to step away every now and then, or, at the least, make sure your technophile behavior enhances your life. But, as long as you're not endangering your relationships and you're happy and productive, what does it matter?

Mike Ashworth
Mike Ashworth

It's a bit like trying to attain the speed of light, the nearer you get to it, the less likely it is that you will, expending massive amounts of energy in the process.I certainly believe that many of these tools have given people an opportunity to interact with people they would not have done otherwise however I remain unconvinced that this is something life changing. My life was pretty good anyway.When you look at people's behaviours, with friends in the real world yet constantly wanting to go onlie and tell everyone what they are up to. I would contend that they are not actually participating in the moment wit their friends, it is like they are only partially present. Same with going to a gig and everyone is looking at the stage through the viewfinder of a video camera or camera phone. We are present but one step removed.I also believe that we are becoming less able to communicate with other people as a result of all these tools. You cannot "communicate" in the true sense of the word in 140 characters for instance, these tools also add fuel to attention deficit which continues to increase. Although I use these tools I remain critical something many do not, however there is a reason for that too and it's called "Group Polarisation" you see it a lot on web forums, twitter when anyone questioning the mass is shot down in flames. @mikeashworth

Mike Ashworth
Mike Ashworth

It's a bit like trying to attain the speed of light, the nearer you get to it, the less likely it is that you will, expending massive amounts of energy in the process.I certainly believe that many of these tools have given people an opportunity to interact with people they would not have done otherwise however I remain unconvinced that this is something life changing. My life was pretty good anyway.When you look at people's behaviours, with friends in the real world yet constantly wanting to go onlie and tell everyone what they are up to. I would contend that they are not actually participating in the moment wit their friends, it is like they are only partially present. Same with going to a gig and everyone is looking at the stage through the viewfinder of a video camera or camera phone. We are present but one step removed.I also believe that we are becoming less able to communicate with other people as a result of all these tools. You cannot "communicate" in the true sense of the word in 140 characters for instance, these tools also add fuel to attention deficit which continues to increase. Although I use these tools I remain critical something many do not, however there is a reason for that too and it's called "Group Polarisation" you see it a lot on web forums, twitter when anyone questioning the mass is shot down in flames. @mikeashworth

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

You make a good counter-point to the thought that we're better people because of these tools. You may be unconvinced for your own situation, but I think it really depends on the individual and what that person accomplished online and how it effected their life/career overall.I love your point about being at a concert and everyone nowadays having their cell phones out, live-streaming, tweeting, etc. I was watching UFC 100 with my cousins a few weeks ago and I was about to pull out my laptop to tweet while watching it but then literally thought to myself "why not just spend time w/them and solely with them?" So, I did and we had a blast - and it felt nice to disconnect, which I try to do most weekends.What I've seen is that the more I've been using these tools, the better of a balance I've found for myself.

Tim Jahn
Tim Jahn

In my opinion, the always-connectedness and instant reach of our online community has caused us to share everything with folks all over the world online.But as you said Sonny, why not just enjoy the time with the people you're with? Why do we put such emphasis on the online side of things and not the physical world? In other words, why are we tempted like you Sonny to tweet things during real life events (and basically choose online over real life) rather than do real life things instead of tweeting?Hmm..I hope that makes sense!

Sonny Gill
Sonny Gill

I think it just gets down to human nature and our need to connect with a community that we feel a part of. We want to somehow connect our real lives with those people that we talk to solely online.It's undoubtedly consumed our lives, but is that to the fault of us or the technology? As this industry requires a strong tech/online presence.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

It's like the guys that go to conferences and start live tweeting the minute they arrive. Yes, it's nice to know what's going on, but sometimes I feel it's almost a contest to who can say something to their friends first. How about just enjoying the conference and tweet occasionally with really worthwhile news, and not that Speaker X just made a joke, or Speaker Y looks different in real life? ;-)

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