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About Our Online Distractions; Are They?

How being online may give us more time as opposed to taking time away.

Recently I read a where the writer mentioned that many of us have become addicted to the online world. There were some very valid points that the author brought up. That said there are also ways that being online has given us free time as opposed to taking away time.

We have become an information society where information is both available and demanded quicker. The killing of Osama Bin Laden and the death of Whitney Houston broke on Twitter before anywhere else. It used to be if you needed to do research you went to the library. Now you can do your research online. I can remember having to wait for the news to get weather and sports or dialing 976-1212 or 976-1313 which if I remember was a local call for charging purposes and the information I was looking for could be at the end. Today you can set alerts on your smartphone for the weather as well as the score of your favorite teams.  If we are not, we all should be lifelong learners. Google “opencourseware” and see all the free college courses available online. YouTube is a good source of educational videos as well.

It used to be that unless you ordered from mail order catalogues you had to spend time getting in your car and going to the store to buy what you were looking for. In this day of $4 a gallon gas, you can order going online any hour of the day from your home. You’re saving gas and driving time plus a lot of times the price is less than when you go to a store.

Banking online is also a growing trend. You can pay your bills online automatically saving the time of writing a check to the same payee every month for the same amount.  Paying bills online is faster and less expensive (think stamps).  You no longer have to write the same checks every month.

Text messaging has become a big thing with the younger generation. My sons do not want me leaving voice mail messages. They want me to leave text messages instead. Texts are quicker to read then listening to a voicemail. Grandparents have gotten on Facebook partially because that is how they find out what their grandchildren are up to. Our phone books and calendars are online. The list goes on.

Being online can be a saver of time and money from the standpoint of business travel. There is less of a need to travel for business meetings in many cases. Meetings can be done via Skype, Google+ hangouts or another online medium. Time and money spent travelling are saved because these meetings can occur online. This can give some businesspeople more family time.

Newspapers have fallen victim to the online world. The New Orleans Times Picayune will start publishing 3 days a week and will no longer be a daily paper. The news is more current online then the published version. Declining newspaper circulations are also saving trees as less paper is needed to reach the declining circulation.

I mentioned Skype earlier. If you are unfamiliar with Skype, it enables you to have a video conference with another Skype user anytime, anywhere without a time limit for free.  Not only does it have business uses but people are using it to keep in touch with out of town friends and family.  It is touching to see grandparents talk about and seeing them have a conversation on Skype with their out of town grandchildren. I know of a family who lives in New York who did a Passover Seder with family in Australia using Skype. The telephone company used to say, “Long distance: the next best thing to being there.”  In today’s word, Skype may be the next best thing to being there.

While our online activity can be a distraction, it also can save time as well. Yes we have become addicted to the online world but so much is going on in today’s world that occurs there. I think we all have seen people together in a public place keeping busy on their phone rather than interacting.  Is it necessary?  Personally I can remember growing up playing in the park and playgrounds with friends and enjoying being outdoors. I am concerned when instead of enjoying our parks and playgrounds, young people are indoors playing games on their Wii, Xbox or another video game console.  For those who feel the need to check their email or texts while connecting during dinner maybe a compromise is in order. Perhaps check to see if the call, message or email is something of a truly urgent nature. If not, it can wait.  If it truly is urgent and by this I mean an emergency then yes take the call, answer the text or whatever. Otherwise use the time to connect with friends and loved ones. 

If you are interested in learning how to better use your technology and save some time of your own call me at (917) 572-3468.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeri Usbay June 07, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Great points, Mike – as you said we spend more time online because there is more to do online, and it is a time-saver. The trick is to spend your online time wisely and not spend more time than you allocated for addictive sites like Facebook, online shopping, or Youtube!
Mike Klubok June 08, 2012 at 10:50 AM
So true Jeri. Remember that there are some good educational and instructional videos on YouTube.

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