Social media, Google and my failing memory

Internet use, memory and Social Media
Memory failure and social media

I find myself increasingly doubting my own ability to remember specific events, conversations and worse, things that I need to do. It’s not uncommon to chat to others that will joke around about their equally terrible or failing memory. People like me that carry around their phone or tablet almost religiously in hopes that what they fail to remember, their device will . And it seems as though this may be a problem that is shared by many.

A few of you might say this is a sign of early onset Alzheimer’s which I can fairly safely disregard as I’ve read enough to conclude that I’m (probably) just fine and don’t display the typical symptoms.

I decided to post on this because I recall hearing a few different sources in the media claiming that use of social media is the decay of our society. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. Anyway, I cannot name the sources because again, my memory does not serve me.

I am not an expert on the subject so I have done some reading and I don’t mean to be alarmist but the truth is I am alarmed. Partly because I work in Online Marketing; I live and breath everything that takes place on the internet, social media and all the rest.

The things that worry me and should worry you

  • The short story is that your brain learns that it can get away with not knowing and not remembering as you increasingly depend on technology.
  • According to Baroness Greenfield “students are losing the ability to study properly. Constant use of the internet has rewired their brains to function differently from those of earlier generations: they skip from topic to topic in an ‘associative’ mode of thinking, and are less capable of the linear thought required for skills like reading and writing at length”

Reading up on your brain, Social Media and Internet Use

The first article I read was from Social Media Today which covers how Google may affect your memory. I noticed an info-graphic [] which is large so I won’t drop it into this post. See for yourself the . I freakin’ love a good info-graphic.

To demonstrate how lazy my brain is, I’ve decided to simply link to some of the articles I read rather than discussing the stuff interesting stuff you’ll find in them. Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile read.

So what are you to do?

The assumption here being that you’ve found yourself feeling a bit more forgetful or otherwise confused about why you’re holding a box full of milk when you’re making toast. So if you’re neither of these things, you can walk away feeling chuffed about how awesome your amazing brain is.

For everyone else, I’ve cobbled together some more reading. Always do your own research as there is way too much mis-information on the internet. I’ll add to this, feel free to comment with anything you’ve found useful.

Given that memory can be so affected by your use of the internet, Social Media and search engines like Google you can assume that reducing your dependency on these technologies will be beneficial.
On that note, how is your memory? Can you remember everything you did yesterday? Can you remember what happened last week?

** Update: I watched a trailer tonight about a movie that seems it might share some of the themes of this post. Check out Connected.

iPhone5 thoughts

Sorry, but, *disappointed*

You’ll know by now that there isn’t an iPhone5, the iPhone 4s alone was announced and the lack of a of hardware number bump is indicative of two things

  • The hardware design remains the same
  • There aren’t actually many new hardware features – Apple are just learning how to better marry some of the hardware and software features (ie. Image stabilisation)

I shouldn’t have been surprised but there was some wishful thinking going on I suppose, I don’t actually care too much for the shape and feel of the iPhone 4. What do I think? The only interesting feature I see as really pushing the envelope on a mobile device is Siri and it isn’t clear yet if Siri will run on my current iPhone 4, or rather, I didn’t bother to dig for the details. This technology isn’t new but the others (ie. Google with Android Voice Actions) haven’t gone as far down the track of device wide integration (ie. scheduling and moving appointments, or adding reminders)

There are some other enhancements to speak of, but in all honesty, when any phone manufacturer starts barking about how great the new camera is I start thinking “right, so you’re holding out on us so you can bring out yet another decent feature later”. The real features are in iOS5 which I’ve had for the last month or so, but Siri isn’t visible in the release that I have installed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple products. I’m a border line Apple fanboy. But that doesn’t mean I’ll insta-buy whatever they try to peddle me.

I was surprised to see that not one of the Carriers are advertising the iPhone 4s. In fact Apple aren’t promoting any local carriers:

So what are your thoughts?

Personal branding series – Part 2

Every thing is marketing
Personal branding Part 2

My last post was about QR (Quick Response) codes which is something that piqued my interest over a year ago when I started seeing the codes used in advertising. This got me to thinking more about personal branding. What I really want to determine is what it’s all about and whether this is something that I (and perhaps you too) should take seriously.

What is personal branding?

I started digging to find how one goes about building their own personal brand. It turns out there’s even an “expert” on the subject of by the name of William Arruda.  Arruda is the founder of Reach, a self-proclaimed leader in personal branding with a terrible website I might add.  I took the time to watch some of Arruda’s videos and he tells us that personal branding is about finding what makes you exceptional to the business you work with. His videos are informative with helpful techniques to go about personal branding although sometimes stating the obvious. I’ve added links below to a few that I found on YouTube.

Why bother?

It is virtually impossible to compete with the millions of people that claim to be ‘web designers’ or those that otherwise do what you do. Unless you’re exceptionally skilled and passionate about search engine optimisation. You can be sure of competing against the very exclusive group of people who share the same name as you, assuming you’re name isn’t John Smith or Jane Doe.

Do you ‘follow’ or ‘like’ a business that you haven’t interacted with? Or do you follow the person (or people) behind the business? The thought leaders. Dan Schawbel, the author of ME 2.0 tells us that personal branding can assist in leveraging social media when searching for jobs.

How to build your brand

I haven’t really scratched the surface yet, but some of the basics I have taken away from just a small amount of research that I’ve done so far are:

  • [Video] Know yourself. Ask yourself what motivates you? How do you see yourself contributing in a meaningful way?
  • Connect and network with others through whatever means you have available. Look to form relationships and step outside your comfort zone.
  • [Video] To assist with differentiating yourself, share knowledge freely, help people where you can without expecting a return.

It seems to me that if you already actively engage in social media then you’re on the right track to developing your own personal brand. The exception is that many people understandably use avatars or pseudonyms to hide their identity. If this describes you, you might start by updating some of your social media profiles to your real name. Buy the domain for your name. If nothing else you can set up a free account and redirect your domain to this profile to make it easy for people to connect with you. To sum up, this stuff isn’t for everyone. John the plumber probably wouldn’t bother. Truth be told, John probably doesn’t need to right now. But what happens when he does?