Why it is necessary for us to use technology in an increasingly interconnected world?
Last year, as we approached the end of the year and everyone was getting into the Christmas spirit, I happened to be part of a Secret Santa game. One of the participants caught my attention when she said that, because she was the secret Santa for someone she did not know very well, she was going to observe that person’s social media activities in order to come up with a well-selected gift. The gift turned out to be just the right one.
Isn’t that at least a bit impressive? We are able to buy a suitable gift for someone we barely know, thanks to an old post of that person on the net, or maybe just because he or she liked something on social media.
We must acknowledge that buying a gift for someone we may not know is not the entire consequence we experience with digital advances. There are also things that we are losing due to this opportunity. This is an example of digital awareness and why it matters: Knowing what you earn, and what you lose through each and every digital interaction, in whatsoever capacity it may occur.
According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder in 2018, more than half of all employers have found content on Social Media that caused them NOT to hire a given candidate. Moreover, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring processes, and about 43 percent of them use social media to check on current employees. This is further proof that digital traces of our online activities seem to be very impactful in our everyday lives.
I consulted people from multiple fields for this article, just so we can see the variety of ways that (not) being digitally aware affects our well-being, through direct impact on our personal and professional lives.
It should be noted that throughout this article the term Digital Awareness will be used in more than one way.
A National Digital Awareness Day would take us a step further in creating more digital wellness
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D, Psychologist, Author of Uncovering Happiness, Co-founder of the Center for Mindful Living in LA, Teacher, and Meditation Studio App designer, argued in an article back in 2013 that it would be sensible to have a National Digital Awareness Day.
Years later, Goldstein remains faithful to his positions and explains them on a private YouTube video, made available exclusively for the author of this article.
“A National Digital Awareness Day is going to be an opportunity to really acknowledge the profound impact that technology has had in our lives, both personally and professionally. Both what’s helping us and also what’s hindering us. It is an opportunity for a day when schools and families and our government and everybody in business can take a moment to take a step back and investigate all the ways are we using technology to further our culture, further our individual lives, and further our success or hinder our cultural lives or success”, he says in the video.
“In what ways we want to use our precious attention in a way that we want to use it and not in the way that is being taken from us? So if technology could be a part of that so when we do that when we feel that perceived sense of control that is correlated with feeling well and happy and empowered in life, and in order to do that we need to take a step back and say how do I want to use this that is helping me, how do I use this that is hindering me?”, Goldstein continues, while adding that a National Digital Awareness day would take us a step further in creating more digital wellness.
Digital Awareness must be considered as a part of the modern survival kit
Juxhina Malaj, M.Sc. in Communication Science at the University of Vienna and a freelancer for several years, expands on the importance of being digitally aware, while affirming that technology is playing a great role when it comes to changing social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the world.
“Even though digital life is not being converted to digital awareness at full speed, I believe people are starting to realize how damaging their social media presence might be for their lives, and how important it is to be digitally aware. As internet usage is at its highest peak, more people are aware that they need to use technology to their advantage, but in order to do that, they need to increase their digital awareness and always be alert when it comes to new advances in technology,” she said in an interview to Youth Time magazine.
Malaj asserts that by being digitally aware one is more open to new opportunities, and more aware of new possibilities, and can use technology to improve lives and further advance careers.
“Today’s survival kit is transforming our lives with new technology that is evolving every minute. That is why digital awareness must be considered as a part of the modern survival kit. Being digitally aware at all times can give you a head-start. Consequently, this may lead to having a better life compared to people who do not see any benefits in being digitally aware,” she adds.
All businesses today are digitally aware, but that’s not enough
Furthermore, Granit Doshlaku, Co-Founder and Head of Search at Manaferra,a search marketing agency drawing on years of experience from within the world of digital marketing, acknowledges the crucial importance of digital awareness in today’s business world.
“I believe that most companies in the past decade have realized that without an online presence there is no chance of surviving in the market. Adapt or die – it’s as simple as that. You can see a lot of companies that were struggling in their brick & mortar shops but are flourishing online, and other companies that once were giant & untouchable in the offline world but since they couldn’t adapt (or moved too slowly online), today are a shadow of what they used to be or have gone bankrupt”, says Doshlaku in his response for Youth Time.
When it comes to businesses’ digital awareness, Doshlaku highlights, “I think all businesses today are digitally aware, but that’s not enough. You have to take action, and if you haven’t already started, you’re already late”. He adds that investing in building an online presence is never a waste of time or money.
We may not be able to foresee all technological inventions that will irreversibly change the entire course of our lives, but we can agree that the better we manage the frequent usage of technology, the better are the chances we will use it successfully to learn new things or advance our current situations.