Limiting Distractions: Notifications

Sometimes, especially if you’re like me, you’ll be on a roll when it comes to work, perhaps figuring out a program you’re working on, when you suddenly get interrupted. And just like that, your mental focus is gone. What were you doing? You’ll figure that out after a few minutes.

Notifications can sometimes be that interruption. Sure, it may be cool to have your iPhone docked next to your computer. But if the constant comments on Facebook are distracting you, is that a good thing to keep in sight?

The better question: are you in control of your device, or is it in control of you?

While I’m not one to disable all of my notifications ((Yet)), as some have done, earlier this week I started disabling notifications that I had set up for some time. In particular, anything with a social element has been muted. My iPhone and iPad no longer have permission to display notifications, play sounds, or show a badge icon. In short, if I want to know what’s going on there, I’ll find out when I manually check those platforms.

Even if you’re a heavy Twitter user, is there any reason why you need to be disturbed with every mention? Is something so urgent that a social media message should disrupt your life? I’m doing my best to say no to those questions. My iOS devices are useful. To me. They respond to what I want to use them for. And that’s how this relationship will stay.

A Danger to Liking Everything?

Showing support? Like.

Think something is funny? Like.

Wish your cat looked as funny as that one? Like.

It’s so easy for us to like just about anything and everything on Facebook. Yet, there can be a negative to this, as Adam Oram noted while talking about an article by Mat Honan at Wired:

By reinforcing the Facebook algorithms via likes, you end up begin presented with more of the same. Your Facebook News Feed becomes increasingly niche as you continue to express an interest in the same things through your liking behavior.

As we know, Facebook provides a catered news feed based on what you view and what you like. (( “How does this algorithm work? Backstrom explained that factors include: how often you interact with a friend, page or public figure; how many likes, shares and comments individual posts have received; how much you have interacted with that kind of post in the past; and whether it’s being hidden and/or reported a lot.” –The Guardian )) But what will Facebook create for you?

Not only can you create a news feed that interests you, but you can also create one that overwhelms you with information, or one that even can reinforce your bad behavior.

Check out the rest of Adam’s article to read more about the potential impact your likes can have.

How Do YOU Use Social Media?

I’ve been thinking about social media and how it has expanded in recent years. In the days before Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter, social networks seemed to be much smaller groups of individuals. You would have your Livejournal, Xanga, or ezBoard (now Yuku) collectives, but none of them have the reach that social media seems to have today.

In today’s online world, with just under 10% of the world’s population on Facebook alone, social media is playing an important role in the modern world. Businesses are finding more and more use for social media networks to relay information and communicate with customers.

I’m curious how other individuals and businesses use social media. Please take the time to comment on this blog and answer the question: How do you use social media?