Assessment 3 · Social Media Communication

Always-on Lifestyle 

Student: Xuan HE  SID: 450427655

Tutorial: Thursday 12am-3pm, Fiona Andreallo

How ofen will you check your phone? Statistics collected by International Auditing and Consultancy Firm Deloitte show that averagely, American would check their phone 46 times a day, and collectively the checking times would peak at eight billion times in 24 hours in 2015. The internet is all   around, which has dramatically changed people’s life.

Danah Boyd’s Participating in the Always-on Lifestyle vividly expounded on the issue of always-online lifestyle that most of our modern people are experiencing now. Boyd used subtraction methods, finding that due to the rapid development of technology, people are always online in the current information society. People ‘may not be always-on the Internet as they think of it colloquially, but they are always connected to the network.(Boyd, 2012)’ In other words, as though we often think we are not surfing the internet, for we don’t use computers or mobile phones, actually, at any moment, we are connected to the internet unconsciously.

’‘My always-on-ness doesn’t mean that I’m always-accessible-to-everyone. All channels are accessible, but it doesn’t mean I will access them.(Boyd, 2012)’ In essence,21492731801_.pic_hd no matter people want or not, they have to be in an always-on mode. For nobody is alone in the contemporary society, they would more or less related to someone else,  but they have choices whether or not to connect with others, which remind me of the status that for example, I was in the group discussion. My brain was working according to the information that my group mates gave me, and the video about Sydney Conservatorium of music from Youtube was playing simultaneously. My phone lays on the desk, receiving information from all channels constantly, there may be some notifications sent to me from Facebook, telling me Sydney Conservatorium of music would give another great performance several days later that we could use as resources to propagate it, but I could choose not to check it at present, I was unaccessible to that connection at that time, but it didn’t mean I was already ‘offline’.

‘Being always-on works best when the people around you are always-on, and the networks of always-on-ers are defined more by values and lifestyle than by generation.(Boyd, 2012)’ Always-on is a subcultural practice. For example, music lovers would follow the official account of Sydney Conservatorium of music from some social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, and Instagram, they would pay close attention to the schedules of some performance. Meanwhile, on the internet, they could find someone who shares the same musical tastes and keep contact with each other online. Whenever a new concert was going to be held, they could exchange feelings and opinions about those concerts, which naturally form a connection for those music lovers, which is also a key point of our campaign in this semester that attending our free concert is a good way for audiences to meet fellow music lovers. Another example could be explained by those pet owners, whose connection with their pets in the range of the broader community online could be defined as  ‘Petworking’ (Hutchinson, 2014). Most of them would create an account on Instagram or Sina Weibo to interact with other pets lovers, their cute pets could draw large amounts of fans of the same habits, they would contact each other via those media platforms. The third  example could draw from those game lovers, the online games are not only social, but could facilitate social interactions among users(Hutchinson, 2014), which is another form of always-on life that those people who primarily know each other would become teammates in some online games, they would also get to know other strangers via online games and become more connected with the outside world.

Human beings living in the society that people love to keep themselves in contact with each other so they will not feel lonely, and technology provides people with the possibilities to connect with others and other new stuff conveniently. Boyd(2012) has claimed that outsiders would feel curious about those people living an always-on life, but in my opinion, I think always-on lifestyle could facilitate people’s physical activity. Supportive interactions online could facilitate people to live a healthier lifestyle(Centola, 2010, 2011). For instance, taking WeChat Run as an example, WeChat Run tracks users’ daily steps all the time, which inadvertently holds a competition among those users about the amounts of their daily steps and ‘stresses peer competition within online networks (Foster et al., 2010)’ , using rankings and other social comparison strategies could promote users’ physical activity(Festinger, 1954). Constantly transmitted data of users’ daily steps online is the representation of the always-on lifestyle. For another example of our campaign about the Sydney Conservatorium of music, in today of the network information times, people’s activities are greatly influenced by the online broadcasting, that is the reason why we should utilize network marketing to advertise our Con. From the advertisement and broadcasting online, people’s attention would be drawn on the free concert, which could facilitate more people to have more activities by attending our concert.

Always-on lifestyle could enhance our experience. With ever-increasing information from all varieties of online channels, we could better navigate the world. When audiences attending the concert, some people without professional musical knowledge may feel isolated deeply inside their heart, for they barely know the backgrounds or some deep meanings behind those unfamiliar symphonies. They know nothing about symphony but to experience it for once. While through the internet like googling or checking the Wikipedia, they could embrace amounts of related information and get closer to those unfamiliar music works. They can check the music style and descriptions of the authors even the introductions of the players to get closer to those great musical works. Online resources create new methods for people to connect with other people, which also provide methods for users to communicate with history, culture, and art. Audiences could  ‘communicate’  with the music, getting to know the cultural backgrounds behind those notes, which could facilitate them to better understand and experience what they heard.

We are living in an age of information exploration, and everyone should adapt to it and find a balance to deal with numerous information. We cannot live without internet, or we can say, we cannot live without being connected to others, which remind me of the group work we have done this semester. Our group members always chatting via Facebook to keep contact with each other and exchanging opinions about the campaign of Sydney Conservatorium of Music, we worked together to put forward a campaign project, which on the one hand is the achievements facilitated by the online technology that conveniently connected us together, on the other hand, it is also a representation of the connection among people in real life that we should collaborate to make things done in a better way, for union is strength.


At heart, I have thought of the issue about people always using internet before taking this course, but I haven’t thought of that kind of lifestyle could be defined by Danah as the always-on lifestyle, which makes me have more interest in social media communication studies. Sometimes we want to express our ideas about a certain issues, we cannot find a proper way to explain it, while scholars or writers could explain such scene vividly and make people feel like ‘that is just what I want to express but I cannot clearly explain it’ , making the readers convince of their statement. For we often look only at the surface of things, but the deep meanings and reasons and explanations underly those things are much more interesting and deserving to be researched considerably.




Boyd,  Danah. (2012). Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle. In The Social Media Reader (pp. 71–76). New York University Press.

Centola, D., (2010). The spread of behavior in an online social network experiment. Science. 1194–1197.

Centola, D., (2011). An experimental study of homophily in the adoption of health behavior.Science. 1269-1272.

Foster, D., Linehan, C., Kirman, B., Lawson, S., James, G., (2010). Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media for competitive step counting(pp.111–116).New York: ACM.

Festinger, L., (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations. (pp.117–140). Sage.

Gulf News, Always online. (2016).Retrieved April 11, 2017 from

Hjorth, L., & Hinton, S. (2013). Social Media Games. In Understanding Social Media (pp. 100–119). London: SAGE.

Hutchinson, J. (2014). I Can Haz Likes: Cultural Intermediation to Facilitate ‘Petworking’. M/C Journal, 17(2), 8–8.



One thought on “Always-on Lifestyle 

  1. Hi Eva,
    Your blog about always-on lifestyle talks about people’s new lifestyle under the the age of information exploration. And I agree with what you said in the blog. Nowadays, we checking our mobile phones all the time. Once the phone stays silent for a while, we would start to feel lost and isolated. Sometimes we feels that the phone is glued on our hands, we are kind of relying on it. I really like the idea you mentioned in the blog about your experience while you were doing the group project. When are not checking our mobile phone, we consider ourselves as offline. However, the notice of message always tell us that we are still online.

    Personally, I think the always-on lifestyle affects some SNS users to live in their social media life rather than the real life. I watched a TV show a week ago, which is talking about a Japanese Internet celebrities’s real life. This lady considers post photos on Instagram as her job. She doesn’t have friends in real life. All of those nice and vivid life she post on SNS was fake. I’m thinking that maybe the always-on lifestyle is controlling us in some way negatively.


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