So following on my post about unplugging, or at least focusing on doing things that I enjoy so much that I forget to be plugged in, I came across this post on a blog I frequent, about why the author never joined Facebook. Now I will admit that I have always been one of those people that thinks you are just weird if you’re not on Facebook. I don’t advocate living on it, or publishing the complete minutiae of your life there, but how can you not, in this day and age, be on Facebook?
Cal’s explanation is that he could never identify what problem he had that Facebook was solving. He asked this of his friends and no one could enlighten him so he just never signed up. That was nearly ten years ago when Facebook arrived at his college campus. He still has no social media accounts to this day.
For him, this is far more than simply ignoring a trendy new product or service. He takes this as a philosophy before adopting any new technological tool. He asks himself whether it is solving a major pre-existing problem. If not, then he doesn’t need it.
It is an interesting approach. I admit that I sign up for way more tools and services than I can ever possibly have time to use. With new ones being released every day, there is no shortage of tech candy for sign ups junkies like me. But if I am honest with myself, the services that I return to, the ones that I inevitably keep open in my browser, the ones that I recommend to friends, are the ones that do just that – solve a major pre-existing need for me.
Because I work in technology it is par for the course for me to sign up for new tools to see what they’re doing, how they’re built, what technology they use etc. I play with them like a kid with a toy at Christmas. But easily 95% of them never make it into a regular rotation for me, because as nice and shiny as they are, they are not essential.
So consider this as a possible method to wean yourself off of some of the technology that consumes your day. Ask yourself, for each one, is this actually solving a need I had before? Or have I created an artificial need so I can keep using it? You might surprise yourself.