Being Heard in a Noisy Digital World


Finding that balance — Agnieszka Chabros

There is no denial that social media has immensely transform the way we live. What first started as an activity for a small demographic of adolescents has now transformed into the norm. It has truly break down barriers, whether that is in terms of communication, knowledge or connectivity. Businesses are now able to reach new audiences around the world and friends from different cities can keep in touch with just a touch of a finger. 

Social media has been transformational to our lives

It is not a matter of coincidence that social media takes up such a large part of our lives. Sites like Facebook or Twitter are purposely designed to be addictive. Facebook’s calming colour palette of blue and grey is sharply contrasted by the red notification icon, creating a sense of urgency. Twitter’s refreshing function works by the user pulling down the feed to refresh the page, creating an effect similar to pulling the slot machine’s handle. The important question to explore is how we can find the right balance with social media.

Is the world becoming too noisy?

Asia has an extremely large and connected digital ecosystems. In certain countries, we have seen the rise of “super-apps” such as WeChat for China or Line for Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. Most recently, China’s Bytedance’s app TikTok has also taken the market by a storm. Western fashion brands have been adaptive to these new platforms; we have seen brands like Loewe having their own Line official account. The level of connectivity has allowed information flow to be seamless, benefiting both businesses trying to sell and customers seeking information before the purchase. Moreover, within the workplace, applications like Zoom and Slack diminish potential gaps and bring teams closer. However, with the majority of social interactions being done digitally, are we losing touch of real human connections? 

Sherry Turkle, a professor from MIT and the author of the book “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” is particularly interested in this topic. Within the book, she discussed a study finding that the recent generation born with social media finds it difficult to have face to face interactions, and this is having negative implications with workplace interactions. With such implications, people are becoming more aware of scaling back on social media usage.

Being heard through genuine connections

This brings us to the important question, how do we as customer and business, find the right balance of social media? Cal Newport, author of the New York Times’ Best Seller “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” encouraged users to find the that sweet spot. Doing a drastic digital detox is not sustainable in the long run; similar to adopting a certain diet like vegetarian or Paleo, we need a guiding principle in our social media usage. We have to dig deep within ourselves to understand what really matters to us and what we would like to spend our time on. 

After we are clear on what those are, we can view social media as tools to help us build on those values, letting the ones that really benefit us take our time. If we are able to connect the usage to our true value, this change can be very sustainable. As a business, we must understand the fundamentals of our customers and what they really value. This is crucial for us to be able to forge strong digital connections with them. In a world that is so noisy, focusing on genuine stories and what really matters is the only way we can be heard.