Social Media Addicted? – The Text You Take is the Life You Make

Social networks were once an extension of our everyday lives, something we used when we were bored and had some free time in our hands. Over time, socializing over the internet has taken over our lives, to the point where many people are now suffering from social network addiction and shunning real life relationships in favor of virtual ones.

A number of studies are now showing that our love for virtual socializing has become an addiction for many. Gadget-advice site Retrevo conducted a study in 2010 and found that 42 percent of people open their Facebook or check their Twitter account as soon as they wake up – sometimes before they even get out of bed. Probably more telling is the fact that 24 percent of people text message while in the bathroom and 32 percent would interrupt their restaurant meal just to answer a message. Begin by look at your own uses and think about how annoying it can be to others when you interrupt a conversation for a text message.  One of the best movie lines is from “The Devil Wears Prada” where her boyfriend says to Emily, “the person who’s call you take is the relationship you are in” when Emily takes a call from Miranda while in a conversation with him.  Also, if you’re text message is more important than the person you are with then they run your life because you don’t.

That need for virtual interaction has moved beyond social networking places. Social shopping is a new form of e-commerce that allows you to interact with virtual friends during the actual shopping experience.
Social shopping marketplaces such as Groupon act like a bazar of sorts, where you can get in touch with others who are buying or selling their wares, while shopping communities such as Kaboodle allow you to discuss products with fellow shoppers or ask for advice on an item you’re considering.

Social shopping apps such as Pose and Fashism are blurring the lines between social shopping and social networks. Pose allows you to take photos of your shopping experience (or the items you take home) and immediately upload them online, so you can get feedback from the virtual community.  Fashism is a similar app, although Pose has a “friends-only” setting option, while Fashism allows everybody in the network to see your posts. Part of the attraction of these sites relies on the fact that they allow you to “take a friend along” when you go shopping, even if it’s not a real one.

Experts believe people with low self-esteem problems or suffering from depression are more likely to become virtual addicts. Virtual lives don’t present the same level of challenge and risk than real-world connections, which is why many people decide to rely on them to find friendship and “conversation.”

Could you be a social media addict? Experts recommend looking out for these clues:

  • You spend more time online than interacting with real people
  • You cancel plans with your real-life friends in order to follow a Twitter chat or series of updates
  • You feel panicky if you’re on vacation somewhere and you can’t access your Facebook account regularly
  • How important is it to check for updates? In the Retrevo study, 19 percent of people admitted to checking their Twitter account in the middle of the night if they happened to wake up to use the bathroom, and 40 percent admitted to doing it while driving. If this sounds like something you would do, you might have an addiction problem.

As long as you use it in moderation and not as a replacement for real-life interaction and relationships, social media can improve and enrich your life. It’s only when it becomes an excuse to hide from the world that you should start to worry.

 

 

5 Top Productivity iPhone and iPad apps

The iPhone and iPad have revolutionized our ability to organize ourselves and stay on top of our task list, and the app store is full of time-management tools that can help us be more productive and efficient. Using productivity apps doesn’t have to be complicated: here are five top time management apps for the iPhone and iPad that could help you organize your life and reduce your stress levels.

Things: iPhone – $9.99; iPad – $19.99

At $9.99 and $19.99 for the iPhone and iPad apps respectively, Things isn’t cheap. It is, however, one of the most popular task management apps on the market, and uses principals from David Allen’s Getting Things Done system to capture to-dos and arrange your products.  Using this iPhone and iPad productivity app, you can create new items on a to-do list, organize them into projects, assign tasks to certain people, and schedule reminders to receive notification when a task is due. As well as viewing tasks or projects that are due today and in the near future, you can schedule repeating tasks that automatically reappear on set days, weekly or monthly.

Although the different functions of this efficient time-management tool might seem complex, Things is a simple organization app to use, and you can sync between your desktop, iPhone and iPad to keep changes to your lists and projects up-to-date.

Instapaper: $4.99

It’s a familiar situation: we decide to give ourselves “just 10 minutes” browsing Facebook, Twitter or similar, yet are still there an hour later. Instapaper helps us stay on track and removes the temptation to aimlessly surf by allowing users to save articles to read another time. Once you’ve saved an article, you can open up the Instapaper app on your iPhone or iPad at a more opportune time and catch up on your reading.

Evernote: FREE

Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to capture all your ideas in one place, sort them into folders and save them for later. Using Evernote, you can capture text, picture or audio clips and store them on your iPhone, iPad or Desktop. Notes automatically sync between devices and you can share your files with others too. The app and desktop account are free, however you can access extra features by upgrading to the premium version. These features include the ability to edit notebooks offline, share your notebooks with others and add a PIN for extra security.

HiFutureSelf: FREE

HiFutureSelf is a simple yet effective app that enables you to schedule messages to yourself in the future. With the ability to send messages and reminders to friends, HiFutureSelf can also function as a social app. It’s useful for business and personal messages: whether you know you have a tough day head and want to send yourself pick-me-up slogans, or you want to ensure you remember to ask a crucial question during a meeting.

GoodReader: iPhone – $4.99; iPad – $4.99

The GoodReader app allows you to read and annotate files on your iPhone or iPad. Use the app to read books, view pictures and magazines. If you want to make a note of something, you can use the highlighter, comment, or freehand drawing functions to make your mark on the text. The app is compatible with PDF, TXT, MS Office, iWork and HTML files, and can also display pictures and audio files. Sync your GoodReader documents with other users or your desktop using dropbox, iDisk or Google Docs when you’re finished so you can access your work anywhere, anytime.

We take time to review apps and ideas, please send your products for your review and ideas for consideration.

Top 5 iPhone/iPad Travel Apps

Light, compact, and more portable than a laptop, the iPhone and iPad are the perfect traveling companions. Whether you’re going away for business or pleasure, these apps will help you make the most out of your trip.

TripAdvisor – Free

The TripAdvisor app for iPhone and iPad provides access to a mobile-friendly version of the information on tripadvisor.com. This popular website is invaluable to travelers, and contains information on thousands of hotels, eateries, bars and attractions all over the world. All reviews come from previous guests and patrons, giving you a fair view of an establishment’s pros and cons. Using the app, you can see the top-rated restaurants, hotels and attractions in your area, or search for nearby locations using a map. As well as being a review app, you can book a hotel room or find a business’s contact information.

TripIt – Free

We have enough to think about when we’re going on holiday, and small details – like what time our flight leaves – can slip our minds. This is where TripIt comes to the rescue. With TripIt, gone are the days of having to root through papers, or search through thousands of emails. When you receive a confirmation email from an airline, transport company or hotel, simply forward it to plans@tripit.com and TripIt will create a travel itinerary for you, which you can then access with just a few taps. If you’re going away with friends, or want to share your whereabouts with family, simply forward your itinerary to them and they’ll have all the information they need.

Hotels.com – Free

Even the best laid plans can fall apart sometimes and, if you’re in a strange place with nowhere to stay, the hotels.com app will help. This mobile version of the website lets you search for and book hotels around the world. With each listing, you can view hotel reviews by previous visitors so you can get the traveler’s perspective before booking. If you’ve booked a hotel through the hotels.com website, you can view your reservation through the app and view exclusive mobile-only deals in your area.

AllSubway HD – $0.99

AllSubway HD is a compilation of subway maps from nearly 140 cities around the world. Covering major cities on every continent, this iPad app gives you quick access to its maps without needing a 3G or wifi connection. If you do happen to be online, you can also view fares and timetables in some cities. Simple to use and quick to load, AllSubway HD is a must-have map app for the city-loving traveler.

XECurrency – Free

Compatible with both the iPhone and the iPad, this app converts to any currency in the world, providing you with information about current and historical exchange rates. Simply shake your device to get up-to-date currency information and monitor up to ten different currencies in one go. If you dabble in more than just traditional currency, you can also check the prices of precious metals. You need to be online to download current currency conversion information, however you can still use the app’s currency calculator when offline.