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How to live a meaningful online existence

In the context of living our digital lives, sometimes a step back is better than two steps forward – cliché as it may seem.


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Our digital lives are often dominated by the voracious appetite for the what-will-be. We seem to have an insatiable hunger to either have a glimpse of the future or define the next trend to take the Internet world by storm. We are always on the lookout for the next wave of devices, updated software, innovative websites, or progressive methods to enhance our digital presence. When it comes to our digital life, our mantra seem to be “the more, the newer, the better”.

You may have the insider scoop of what are to come, or have multi-million followers on your blogs and social media sites, but have you ever taken time to ask yourself if your digital exploits actually contribute to a meaningful overall existence? Does your digital achievements contribute to your personal or professional life? Are your online habits enhancing your learning, personal relationships or work?

Image Source: Giphy

One way to know the answers to the above questions is by taking some time off and reassessing our digital life. Because we are always occupied with looking ahead and keeping the online snowball rolling, we often forget that digital wisdom sometimes lie in what has been. Sometimes, taking a step back will prove to be more progressive than forging ahead. It cannot be any more important that in the context of our online life, in which we invest an increasing amount of hours and effort.

But, with the extent of time, work and information that we have poured into enhancing our digital presence, the task will sure appear to be daunting. I am sure most have us have more than a thousand pictures and messages shared to thousands of followers in more than one account in more than one social media channel (phew!). How many of us have activated social notifications on more than one device? How many of us follow numerous information streams and blogs to keep up-to-date?

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We need not fret: It figures that in reassessing our online existence, there are four salient elements that we have to consider to save ourselves from the chaos: productivity, emotions, relationships and learning. While the list may slightly differ from person to person, considering these four elements may give a clearer picture of where in the digital world we stand and of which steps to take next.

We have to identify which of the devices, social networking accounts or information stream we keep have actually helped enhance our productivity. Sometimes, we think that having the most updated gadgets and the newest applications can drive our productivity, when in fact they can simply be nothing but clutter and a waste of time and money. Ask yourself: What helped me achieve my biggest sale or accomplish my biggest project? If your answer did not include the newest laptop you bought or the latest software you subscribed to, then maybe it’s time to do a digital spring cleaning.

Image Source: Giphy

We also have to look back and remember the times we were genuinely emotionally stimulated by the information we have obtained through online means. The more time we spend online, the more that it needs to have a positive impact on our lives – otherwise, we may just be wasting time or subjecting ourselves to detrimental experiences. Keep your network connections or information streams that contributes to your emotional well-being and discard the rest.

We also have to assess if our contact network actually contributes to our personal and professional life. There are millions of annoying people on social media: the humble-braggart, the cryptic, the confrontational, the bigot… Why would you let these people affect you? Leverage the expansive reach of social media and make contact to the people who matter. In case you have had enough of the annoying ones, there is always the safe “see-less” option, the subtle “unfollow” or the life-changing “unfriend”. At least on Facebook.

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Despite the tons of useless information available online, one cannot deny the fact that the Internet is an invaluable source of useful information. We need to be wary of what the Internet will throw at us; we need to be able to weed out what we do not need, and retain or amplify the essential. Assess your information sources so only keep the most vital.

Image Source: Giphy

Living a digital life is almost obligatory to anyone living in this generation. There are heaps of opportunities, information and advantages to be missed by a digital hermit. Living a meaningful online existence is not a choice between total exposure and absolute seclusion – we just need to learn to take a break at times, shake off the dust, and move on.

 

Image Source: Giphy

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Robert Bagatsing
Managing Editor and Founder of GineersNow based in Dubai and Manila. Survived marketing at Harvard, Management at AIM and proud Bedan.

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