They love posting countless selfies and pictures of food, babies and pets. Or maybe they're the more passive digital technology addicts who just can't stop looking at their devices, even at the dinner table. We all know these people and — sadly, yes — often we are these people.
Times have changed and so have media consumption habits. These days, most people check their smartphones, emails or Facebook feeds compulsively. One report surveying 1,600 managers and professionals found 70 per cent of respondents checked their devices within an hour of getting up, while 56 per cent of people checked their phones before they went to bed.
And Canadians are especially guilty of it. Canada had the most social networking users in the world on a per capita basis in 2012 (a title we may soon lose), according to research firm eMarketer.
If this sounds like you, you're among the majority. Professional organizers Susan Borax and Heather Knittel say digital clutter is another thing they encounter on top of people's everyday residential clutter.
"[Digital devices] serve multiple purposes like entertainment, work tools and a means to connect with friends and family. If too many hours are devoted to social media or surfing, then other important aspects of life may be suffering from neglect," Borax says.
Not valuing your own time or others is a sign of digital obsession. This applies to people who spend hours surfing online, constantly check emails or freak out if they lose their phones, according Psychology Today. As much as these tools were designed to help us communicate, they can also slowly take over our lives.
The best way to live stress-free with devices is to achieve balance between one's digital and real life, according to the pair, who together are Good Riddance Professional Organizing Solutions in Vancouver. Find ways to make positive use of your digital devices. Calendars on your phone, for example, can help you keep organized. You can also try semi-unplugging during your work week by turning off your phone in the afternoon, trying to limit your Internet use after dinner or leaving your phone out of the bedroom.
So how many bad digital habits do you have? Here are 20 of the most common and highly irritating ones.
<strong>WHO:</strong> People on Facebook, Twitter and even texters who decide to add unnecessary hashtags to their messages. Sure, hashtagging a television show, city or trending topic makes sense, but adding a "#" in front of every sentence is #justkindofannoying. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Unless you're posting to Instagram, keep your hashtags limited. Not everything is a trend. To be sure, <a href="http://www.socialbakers.com/blog/1826-everything-you-need-to-know-about-hashtags-on-facebook" target="_blank">click the hashtag to see how many people are <em>actually</em> using it.</a>
Selfies For Every Occasion
<strong>WHO:</strong> Individuals who take anywhere between five to 20 photos of themselves, often during the same day or hour. Not only do selfies take over Facebook newsfeeds, but you'll probably regret some of those <a href="http://www2.canada.com/topics/lifestyle/food/story.html?id=8577579" target="_blank">drunk ones</a> later. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> We're not saying no to all selfies! But post them sparingly, and put some effort into them. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-tuttlesinger/six-tips-on-how-to-rock-a_b_3750316.html" target="_blank">Here are some tips on how to rock it.</a> And remember, no duckfaces allowed.
Checking Your Emails Incessantly
<strong>WHO:</strong> Many of us do this and we may not even be aware of it. One study showed that 40 percent of us checked our inboxes at least <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-many-times-a-day-should-you-check-your-email.html" target="_blank">six to 20 times a day.</a> <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> As tempting as it is, you have to learn to how let go. You can start email <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/21/how-to-clean-your-inbox_n_1285511.html" target="_blank">de-cluttering by archiving or unsubscribing from newsletters,</a> and there are web programs designed to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/24/organize-emails_n_2516217.html" target="_blank">filter and group similar emails together. </a>
Unnecessary Facebook Status Updates
<strong>WHO:</strong> It could be oversharing information or constantly complaining. And somewhere in your feed, there are status updates about the snow storm, the rain storm or how the "sky is blue." <strong>PRO TIP:</strong>if there's a blackout in your city or a snow storm slowing down your commute, chances are it's probably happening to a lot of other people as well. Unless you have something insightful or interesting to say about it, exercise restraint. If you must, post a unique photo or useful information that could help others.
Texting While Doing Other Things
<strong>WHO:</strong> People who are not paying attention to their surroundings when they text. Not only is texting while walking and driving annoying for those around you, it's also dangerous. One study <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/12/13/texting-while-walking-really-is-very-dangerous-says-new-study/" target="_blank">found texting pedestrians, for example, took almost two extra seconds to cross intersections and displayed unsafe crossing behaviour,</a> according to Macleans. On top of this, the number of fatal collisions where cellphone distraction was cited as a cause rose by <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/cellphones-blamed-as-fatal-collisions-by-distracted-drivers-up-1.1308025" target="_blank">17 per cent in Canada the last five years, resulting in 352 deaths. </a> <strong>PRO TIP:</strong>For the love of iPhone, wait until you get to your destination. If it's an emergency, stop everything you're doing to use your phone.
Too Much Tweeting
<strong>WHO:</strong> Individuals who like to remind you what they ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert and every other thing in between. Other offenders also tweet unnecessary and offensive commentary while watching live events or television shows. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Stick to the tweets that matter. It's fun to get into trending topics as they happen, but <a href="http://www.gq.com/entertainment/humor/201208/most-annoying-people-twitter-feed#slide=9" target="_blank">avoid getting too personal</a> and avoid tweeting constantly. Remember, once it's out there...
Oversharing Your Baby
<strong>WHO:</strong> Sorry new parents, you're the culprits for this one. Oversharers in general always have an urge to post personal images or status updates for the rest of the world to see. And often, it's pictures of their crying kids, growing baby bellies or the mess the kids left in the living room. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> <a href="http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/health-and-fitness/columnists/leslie-barker/20130809-how-to-get-over-oversharing-on-facebook-twitter-and-beyond.ece?nclick_check=1" target="_blank">Think before you post</a>. Does the world really need to see a picture of your toddler's mismatched clothes or the mess she made eating pumpkin puree?
Music Without Headphones
<strong>WHO:</strong> Some people decide to listen to their music without headphones. Not only is it irritating during rush hour or your early morning commutes, but it's wrong to think everyone has the same taste in music as you. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Get some headphones! And remember your surroundings. It's not the smartest idea to play R-rated songs around kids on the bus.
Taking Photos Of Everything You Eat
<strong>WHO:</strong> Sometimes you go to really trendy restaurants or your mom makes your favourite meal and you want to share that experience with others. That's OK, but you don't have to document every single thing you eat. And remember, your meal <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/how-instagram-might-help-you-lose-weight/article14739782/" target="_blank">probably looks a lot more appetizing to you</a> than all your Facebook friends. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> If you're considering making food photography a hobby or career, try <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/8-tips-for-taking-great-food-photos/the-first-bite-is-best" target="_blank">blogging about the recipes or using some handy tricks to make your photos stand out instead.</a>
Phones On The Table
<strong>WHO:</strong> Our parents used to get annoyed when we put our elbows on the table, but these days it's our phones. Not only are they distracting, but studies have shown people who use their phones at the dinner table <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9589232/Putting-a-mobile-phone-on-the-restaurant-table-will-ruin-your-meal.html" target="_blank">make it a less positive experience for those they are dining with.</a> <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> It's a social faux pas. Value the importance of face-to-face conversation and check your phone after dinner. Next time you're out with friends or family, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/fashion/step-away-from-the-phone.html?_r=0" target="_blank">try the "phone stack" </a>challenge.
Using Up Too Much Instagram Space
<strong>WHO:</strong> People who post six to eight photos on Instagram at once from the same event. Unless you're a news organization or fashion blog, chances are people won't appreciate you clogging up their feeds with repetitive posts. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Don't overdo it and watch out for cliches like <a href="http://mashable.com/2012/08/31/cliche-instagram-photos/#_" target="_blank">like looking down at your feet at the beach and the pretty fall leaves.</a>
<strong>WHO:</strong>People who share their "true feelings" after a night of drinking way too much. And often, these texts get sent to people like exes, co-workers and others who weren't with you that night. Welcome to the evolution of the drunk-dial. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Not only are you not fully aware of what you're saying, you may be saying something terrible. And when it comes to the ex, you may have to <a href="http://idiva.com/news-relationships/10-texts-you-must-never-send-to-your-ex/20173" target="_blank">deal with an awkward response the next day.</a>
Going On Liking-Sprees
<strong>WHO:</strong> People on Facebook and Instagram who decide to like 20 things at once and take over your notification feed. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Maybe you're being nice or maybe you don't realize how annoying it really is. On Facebook, for example, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-says-the-lead-singer-of-soul-coughing-likes-too-many-things-2011-6" target="_blank">some users have been blocked for liking too many things at once.</a> Instead of liking every single shot, like the album instead.
Smartphones In Meetings
<strong>WHO:</strong> People who are too busy or too distracted answering emails, playing games or sending texts to their co-workers during a meeting. It's disrespectful and distracting to other people in the meeting. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Be mindful of your co-workers' time and people who are speaking or presenting. Keep your phone at your desk.
Over-Recording, Over-Photographing Events And Travels
<strong>WHO:</strong> People who whip out their phones at every event, concert or site-seeing experience to capture the moment. Often, it gets annoying for photo-takers themselves who are probably missing out on the real experience by looking at everything through the lens of their camera. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> These days, most concerts and events have photos available online after the show, but if you're travelling, how about unplugging from time to time? One travel writer suggests leaving the camera at home and<a href="http://matadornetwork.com/notebook/the-ephemeral-travel-without-a-camera/" target="_blank"> being aware of your senses instead. </a>
Too Many Games
<strong>WHO:</strong> First it was Farmville and now it's probably Candy Crush. Not only are game invitations annoying, but if you're downloading them on your phone, they can also take up a lot of space. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> De-clutter your apps once in a while. If you're not using or playing a game in particular, delete it.
<strong>WHO:</strong> People who respond with "lol," "OK," or "cool," after you spend 10 minutes crafting a long and personalized text or email. An honourable mention goes out to those of you who text one-liners at the last minute before cancelling on an event or showing up late. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> If you're too busy to answer, just say it. It's better to be honest than leave people hanging with a thoughtless response.
People Who Guilt-Trip You To Donate
<strong>WHO:</strong> Individuals who send mass messages on Facebook or email asking you to donate to their cause. Not only is it hard to say no to a lot of great causes, but it can get quite annoying if you get reminders or don't know the individual that well. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Be direct. If you're sending a message out to co-workers or friends, send them a personalized message or talk to them in person -- try to avoid copying and pasting.
'Happy Birthday' Facebook Posts
<strong>WHO:</strong> People who only interact with you on your birthday. And by interacting we mean posting "Happy Birthday" on your wall. Most people love getting messages from anyone and everyone on their birthday but over time, that random message that looks exactly the same as last year can get annoying. <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> Don't fall into this habit. If they aren't really your friends, don't feel bad about missing their birthdays. You may also leave <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/social.media/08/12/facebook.birthday.popularity/" target="_blank">people feeling overwhelmed </a> in replying to your message.
Checking In... All The Time
<strong>WHO:</strong> Those who check in on <a href="https://foursquare.com/" target="_blank">FourSquare</a> and Facebook to notify the world where they are. Not only is it annoying to "check in" every time you're at your friend's house or at the library, letting the world know when you're not at home <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/4-ways-foursquare-victim-dangerous-5498437.html" target="_blank">can also lead to home invasions. </a> <strong>PRO TIP:</strong> <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/4-ways-foursquare-victim-dangerous-5498437.html" target="_blank">Privacy has become an issue for many social media sites</a>, so be careful how often and where you check in.
With our lives inescapably intertwined with technology, with children and adults spending ever more time in front of screens, it's important that we look at how being constantly plugged-in impacts our lives. That's why The Huffington Post launched Screen Sense last year, a section devoted to promoting mindfulness when it comes to how and when we use our technological devices.
This week we're taking our message global by having our international editions join the Screen Sense conversation. The goal is to start a worldwide conversation about the science behind screens as well as help each other navigate the complicated and ever-changing world of technology -- to look at how it affects our children, our marriages, our friendships, our futures.
The above article is from HuffPost Canada.
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