At the risk of getting tedious about how much surveys affect us and reflect our lives, they are just one way of saying something about identity. In this age of openness to technology, it is revealing to see how we perceive ourselves and how others rate us.
Surveys are a kind of mirror, showing us insights about ourselves and our contemporary lives we may not have realised. Sometimes it’s good to burst the bubble of hype and see things as they really are.
In a survey from Siteopina.com, 80% of British people owned up faking their social media profiles to ‘a certain degree’. Some falsely claimed their social lives were more glamorous than they are, or they airbrushed pictures to look more glamorous, sophisticated, fit and healthy.
The fakers were keen to present themselves in successful lights, often with making false updates or changing their statuses to draw attention to themselves and their self-importance. Facebook has no way of verifying the data, so it stands as whatever users say. People are sometimes fooled, especially in online dating, where the person in the flesh is scarcely related to the profile on screen.
Psychologists are divided, some defend the use of creative virtual makeovers, since reality is whatever you want it to be. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But is truth relative? Online it probably is. Other experts think the social media profile is idealised, but cannot be a lie.
Human multi-tasking is one of those attributes that many people claim to possess, but often don’t. The received wisdom is that women are mainly blessed with the art of doing lots of things (well) simultaneously. Conversely, men are not as well gifted.
The term arose from computer multi-tasking, and more people are obliged to text/type emails/watch TV/talk at once. It can lead to errors and waste more time than it saves, due to human context switching, where it takes the brain a few seconds to catch up on changing scenarios. Doesn’t stop people feeling they must at least try.
This leads to another recent survey of note. In May 2012 Suzane Choney wrote on Digital Life Today that 12% of young mums ‘use their phones during sex’.
It is not revealed in the survey by Moms & Media 2 from Meredith Media Network if they are texting, browsing or talking to friends. Some of the immediate responses to the findings included:
1. The relationship would be a four-letter word: OVER.
2. I’d be amused.
3. I’d be relieved.
4. I’d admire her ability to multitask.
The ‘moms’ were aged 18-35, the so-called ‘Millennial Moms’, born between 1977 and 1994. Quite why those should be the chosen years is not clear either, but the company said of this age group and their tech-centred behaviour, ‘there is no part of their lives that is media free’.
They also discovered among this sector of females, 21% use their phones in the bathroom; 81% said shopping was the top reason to use a smartphone; they have an average 13 apps apiece with most saying less than 60% of them are for their kids.
80% use Facebook, but 72% of them are ‘frustrated’ by changes to the format and 53% said Facebook ‘wastes their time’. Over half of them, being busy time-starved mothers, defriended companies because of too many ads; however, video streaming is rising in this group.
Meredith Parents Network president Carey Witmer called today’s mothers ‘media omnivores’, they eat up everything. ‘Controlling their voracious diet is so important to them that they are constantly creating new rules about how and when media intermingles with their busy lives via their various devices, screens and networks’.
The Mummies Are Coming
The phrase Millennial Moms never really caught on in the UK, but is widespread in the States. The Wax Blog, from a marketing company, wrote last autumn that notwithstanding previous generations of women (Generation X) were formidable in their balancing busy lives as mums, employees/employers and wives, today’s are ‘nothing short of frightening in their ability to juggle kids, high powered jobs, husbands and still have time for running marathons, doing yoga and blogging’.
The Wax Blogger said: ‘I’m pushing 50 and I can hardly get myself out of bed and feed the dogs…let alone dress seven youngsters, freeze a month’s worth of meals and blog about it, all before 8am’. She identified characteristics that seem ‘nothing short of remarkable’.
They’re incredibly high-tech, using Facebook, the Internet and blogs to stay not only informed, but really connected to their peers. They’re slave drivers, plain and simple, apparently. These women have learned how to delegate like nobody’s business and if you don’t deliver, watch out.
In addition to delegation, Millenium Moms are remarkable project managers, from their professional work to coordinating the needs of everyone in their families.
They’re put together, good looking and stylish (even with baby barf on their shoulder.)
They’re confident in their not getting everything done-ness. There’s a self-esteem there that I haven’t seen in previous working women’s generations, that goes along with having appropriate self-expectations and the realization that no one is perfect.
The author was thrilled at the ‘evolution of working women’. She thought they’d be ‘the ones that finally turn this sad planet of ours around. No offence guys’.
Well, none taken by this guy, if what we see lives up to the image, then we’re all happy. Reality will trump virtual, for once.
Digital Life Today, 10 May 2012.