Monthly Archives: April 2010

Internet Addiction Affects College Students

Internet addicts?

A study by the University of Maryland indicates college students are seriously addicted to the internet.

I’d like to know what addiction isn’t serious but I digress.

A class of 200 students disconnected from all electronic media for 24 hours after which they blogged about their experiences.  The accumulated 110,000 words were centered around “bored, distracted, dependence, difficult” among others.  The infographs in the study are great visuals.

When I saw the first paragraph of the results of the study I couldn’t believe it.  Are you kidding me?

Then I got down to the part that made complete sense.  This wasn’t about gaming or finding a new bar or any of a million other things you can do with a phone or social media.

They said they felt disconnected from their family and friends.

Wow. I get that.  It’s just that I get it from being online all the time.

Talk about your generation gap.

The five highlights in the article are amazing! They spell out the future of communication.  Ignore at your own risk.

The Most Important Listening Post Is The One At The Top

Rebellion happens when people do not believe they are being heard.  Sometimes it leads to revolution.

It’s easy to pick out the events of the last decade that changed the world.  Not just due to the events themselves but to the changes that were required because of them. The biggest?  9/11. Katrina. Lehman Brothers closing.

Lehman’s failure and 9/11 were caused directly by organizations.  Katrina was a force of nature but New Orleans could have been more levee prepared and the aftermath better managed by the organizations in charge.

It’s human nature not to change when we’re comfortable.  And boy do we like to be comfortable!  Regrettably one person’s comfort is another’s denial.  How often have you heard “I saw it coming but nobody above me wanted to know.”  I’ve heard it and in a few very unfortunate situations I was the one who didn’t want to know.

Social media experts counsel their clients to put listening posts in several places online.  Listen to customers.  Listen to competitors. Listen to suppliers. It’s great advice!

Here’s the thing.  Listening has to start at the top. And it has to be okay for the other listeners to bring uncomfortable information.  Unless you’re looking for a rebellion, or worse a revolution, it really the only way.

The Law Of Repetitious Ignorance

Is that one of the greatest phrases ever written or what!  Thought provoking on so many issues and levels.  I wish I had made it up but the credit goes to Montessori International founders Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

How many times have you repeated something without questioning?  Passed it on to others?  Realized when it was way too late there were other perspectives?

Shoot.  We’ve all done it.

I’m looking at the different areas of my life this week in order to discern where I have fallen victim to the law and where I have enforced it.  It will probably take a lot longer than week.  Self examination is funny that way.

“The unexamined life is not worth living” said Henry David Thoreau.  Here’s the good news and the bad news about that: Once you start you will never be able to go back.

The Disposable Laptop

I just spent two weeks without my laptop.  I didn’t realize I would be without it so long but after I did everything I knew I took it to the repair place I normally go.  They were three to four business days out just for diagnostics.

Oh. My. God.  I nearly fainted when I found out the cost.

Not because I had to replace the operating system.  Not because I was ambivalent about needing my documents and photos (yes I had backed them up to Carbonite a couple days before it went down – okay I thought I did but no). Not because I am against companies making a profit.

I nearly fainted because for another $100 I could have purchased a new one…every day of the week.

Could I have purchased the top of the line? No. But if I had to start over – and I pretty much did – then what was the point of keeping the old one?  Was I better off getting a newer, faster model?

I pulled up my big girl panties and paid for the repair.  I still love my computer.

The store owner told me within five short years computers will be disposable.  I don’t think we’ll have to wait that long.

Social media has offered up a ton of places online to keep photos, videos, powerpoints, documents.  Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Slideshare.  And mobile?  It’s already crazy out of control and we may not need laptops period.

Even for someone who loves the chaotic, messy, almost instantly obsolete world that is the internet that feels insane!

Two Meetings And Out

It took me a long time to stop focusing on potential clients.  I mean the clients I met, had a meaningful conversation or two, sent the proposal, considered the project a slam-dunk.  Like a summer camp romance I never heard from them again.

Oh my gosh. It’s demoralizing to think how much time I spent waiting for someone to call.  Or I would call and leave a perky message.

Yes it would have been better if the other person said, “I’m just not that into you/your company/your offer”.  Actually the silence was deafening but like most entrepreneurs I thought it nearly impossible to get turned down or they were busy or they needed to get the cash together.  Sigh.

So I took the advice of a member of my Mastermind group.  He never has more than two meetings with a potential client.  Then it’s go or no go.  He doesn’t spend any time worrying about it.

I am not doing this perfectly – one characteristic of an entrepreneur is eternal optimism.

Why does he have such success? He closes a large percentage of these deals.

His ability to sit down with the people who will really benefit from his expertise and to close the deal makes all the difference.

I’m working on that too.

Fighting Gravity

The peonies my mother-in-law planted in what is now our front yard are shooting up. All the information these spectacular flowers need to grow is completely contained in a seed the size of a pea.

I am obsessed with that.  How can all the necessary information be there?  Especially the part about moving up through hard soil…against the rules of gravity.

What is it about flowers and grass and trees that they grow against all odds?  That once they start it takes extraordinary measures to stop them like a complete lack of water or an extreme wounding?

We all know people like that.  Nothing stops them even when the extraordinary  intervenes. How is it some continue to move upward even against the gravity of circumstances that stop others in their tracks?

Why isn’t it more common?

Over the next few months I am going seek out these amazing people and tell their stories. Won’t it be wonderful to learn how to do it ourselves?

Annoyances Are Like Allergies

I interrupt.

I interrupt everyone including myself.

It’s a lifelong characteristic and I would love to blame my mother because she’s an interrupter too.  Unfortunately I’m a grown up so I can’t do that.

“Oh, it’s just one of my character flaws”, I tell myself.  A minor imperfection that I recognize just as soon as I’ve done it but it’s already too late.  I have worked on it but it doesn’t seem to get better.

Until today.

I really did understand intellectually that interrupting sends the “I’m not listening” message.  Even when I’m being supportive it has to be annoying to the person speaking.  What I didn’t understand was small annoyances are like allergies.  Over time they build up until there is a reaction.  Sometimes a big one.

Has this happened to you – on either side of the minor imperfection?  How do you handle it?  Is this something HR needs to get involved in from the beginning?  Is it an issue for management or simply an open honest conversation between workers when it first starts?  Or is it best ignored until it creates a productivity problem.

Share your perspective. I’m going to need all the help I can get!