Let Me Count the Ways

4 Jan

Apparently, I’m not the only person who occasionally neglects other parts of her life for the chance to do something social online. I will not reveal my sources to protect the guilty. However, I’m not going to chide all of you and myself for this. I’m not saying we don’t deserve some scolding, but I prefer to think creatively.

First off, let me say that I want to find that staircase with several musical friends and play Fur Elise on it! Then, I want us to count the ways we love social media.

  1. Friends–if we tried to spend as much time face-to-face with our friends as we do with them on social media it wouldn’t work. Social media, particularly mobile social media, lets you have your friends with you all the time even when it wouldn’t be feasible for that to happen physically.
  2. Interactive–Why is a piano more fun than an escalator? One reason is that it reacts to us. You step on it and it makes a noise! We thrive off of interactions and social media lets everything be interactive, even things that are usually static such as eating, running on a treadmill, and even waiting in line.
  3. Recorded–perhaps it’s just ego, but we all love to have a record of what we do. This is a big feature of the new Facebook timeline.
  4. Commentary–not only can we record what we do we can provide commentary for what everyone else does!
  5. Global–this isn’t a feature of every social media platform, but it is of quite a few. It’s one of the reasons I love Flickr and Google+ so much and one of the bonuses of Twitter.

All 5 of these things make social media fun. As the video showed us, people will almost always choose fun even if it’s more effort. So, how can we take these features of social media and make them features of things we procrastinate doing? I’m not asking how we can we put housecleaning, exercise, and bill payments on social media, but how can we make these activities friendly, interactive, recorded, commentative, or global? (Yes, I just made up the word ‘commentative’.) How can we make our unwanted tasks fun?

Let’s take Exercise first.

Recording exercise generates excitement about the activity. It motivates  you to hit the gym just so you can record it! Also, you can keep track of your progress and reward it! Means of recording exercise are pretty well known and they do help significantly. I prefer iOS apps that combine food diary with exercise log. Please post links to your favorite books and apps for recording exercise.

I think we Americans think too statically about exercise. A treadmill may not sound like fun to you so you hop on Facebook instead, but what about swing dancing? Swing dancing is done with other people and is very friendly and interactive, like social media. Does horseback riding in the beautiful outdoors sound better than the lap pool? It’s interactive and challenging and all around fun for some! Beats Twitter any day! Besides we can tell Twitter about it afterwords.

Last, how can exercise be global? I practice a style of Okinawan karate. Just my dojo’s organization has schools in Taiwan, the Philippines, Guatemala, Texas, and all over Oklahoma! There’s an even bigger world when I look outside my organization to other karate kai. Another way exercise can be global is through flash mobs on global holidays!

Come on! Who doesn’t want to do that?!

Next, let’s hit Cleaning.

I have started taking a picture of my desk every time I clean it. I usually then post it to Flickr or Facebook. Then everyone compliments me and says I did a good job. What did I do? I recorded it and opened it up for commentary!

My aunt for many years cleaned her kitchen while talking to her best local friend on the phone who was doing the same thing. A friend makes any task more enjoyable, whether you have them over to help or race each other in separate locations.

Can cleaning be global? Have you ever heard of spring cleaning? That’s an entire hemisphere doing the same thing as you! How many other people are putting away Christmas lights on January 1st? Just search for it on Twitter and find out!

What are you procrastinating doing right now by hanging out online instead? Brainstorm here how to make it fun and then maybe we’ll all go do it!

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