Is Digital Burnout A Thing?

Is Digital Digital Burnout A Thing?
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It is March 2019 already, but I still remember thinking about my goals for the year and chatting to colleagues about how fast 2018 flew by. Is it just me or does everyone seem tired this early in the year?

We have already found the need for a quick weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Weekends just cannot come any sooner and when they do, we find ourselves saying ‘where did this week go’?

At the end of January, I heard a radio interview with South African trend analyst, Dion Chang, where he confirmed my sentiments by saying that South Africans are tired this early in the year because of a phenomenon called digital burnout.

The lines between our online and offline worlds are fast becoming blurry and the addiction to one’s smartphone is quite apparent. We saw it on our weekend away, where people probably had the same idea of relaxing and escaping from the busy city. The irony though was that everyone had a phone in their hand, quite engaged and oblivious to their surroundings or the people they were with.

I put it down to our need for feeding our virtual existence – something that is becoming more prominent than our physical existence. We must ‘check in on Facebook, ‘update our story’ on Instagram, Tweet about the experience and tag the relevant people. Oh, and add a few Snaps with cute furry ear filters, just for good measure.

According to Chang, ‘This always on, always connected, lifestyle is what is fuelling digital burnout. It has rewired our brains to be on a permanent multi-tasking mode. Our new default reaction to any spare time is to delve back into cyberspace. Just watch people at an airport, or any place where they are required to wait for any length of time: they will no doubt be locked into their mobile devices. No one simply stares into space anymore.’

South Africans spend on average more than seven hours a day on consuming media. Unlike a physical store, the internet is available 24/7 and we need to ensure that we are mindful of going down the rabbit hole of information overload. The internet is increasingly commercialised and as marketers, we want to make use of the platform to reach our customers whereever they are travelling on the net.

I find this ever-connected world we live in so fascinating. Everything changes at the speed of light. There is even a word to describe snubbing someone you’re talking to by looking at your phone – ‘Phubbing’. I am sure you have experienced this at least once in your life?

The simple solution to this phenomenon is to be aware of the time we spend on digital media and make a conscious effort to give our minds a break from the hyperactivity caused by engaging with digital media for prolonged periods. Go back to basics – your physical self will thank you for it.