The Perils of the Immediacy Trap and Why we can and cannot do without it

What is the Immediacy Trap and How we can and cannot do without It

We are living in a 24/7 media saturated world which keeps us on our toes almost on a continuous basis. coupled with the proliferation of print and visual media as well as social media, the tendency of most people, whether they are business leaders, politicians, professionals, or students is to constantly be alert and monitor the multiple media outlets and respond on a real time basis.

Thus, we are in what can be called an Immediacy Trap wherein we live for the moment and the result being that we are constantly responding to Facebook posts, Tweets, Breaking News, and Updates as they arise.

This is a trap since we lose focus of the Big Picture and in our endeavor to be constantly on the move, we cannot devote much time to the longer term value creation and sustainability that are needed for our own good.

As the title of this article indicates, while we can do without this Immediacy Trap for our own progress, at the same time, we do need to be constantly monitoring and hence, we cannot also not do without this immediate and instant gratification culture.

How Does the Immediacy Trap Affect our Businesses and Societies?

Thus, the trap that these multiple avenues for communication have set for us includes constant vigilance and this has implications for the way in which we run our businesses, governments, our careers, and more importantly, our lives.

How many instances of people rushing to judgment based on a Facebook Post or Tweet that went viral can finally make us realize that it is not in our collective good to be so absorbed and enamored of the present and lose sight of the future.

Indeed, as one of the most perceptive commentators on the New Media culture, Douglas Rushkoff, who is also a bestselling author, puts it; the result is that we have lost the plot and the much needed narrative in our lives.

As can be seen from the news items about businesses and careers being destroyed by the destructive power of New Media, it is better for us if we space our lives in a more leisurely manner without constant pings disturbing our attention.

Moreover, and this is especially true for students, the ability to concentrate and focus on their studies is sorely lacking these days which means that the much needed conceptual clarity has been given the go by.

The Advantages of the Immediacy Trap

Having said that, it is also not the case that New Media is all bad and the constant barrage and deluge of information is leading us into a New Dark Age as some experts have said.

Indeed, if not for Social Media and the proliferation of online and print as well as electronic media, many aspiring professionals, and ambitious businesspersons would not have tasted success since otherwise; they would not have found a medium in which they can express themselves.

The fact that in the previous generations, it was hard for those without family connections or wealth to be noticed and succeed in the real world means that there are clear advantages of the New Media helping those with the necessary abilities and the capabilities to have a platform for themselves in which they can launch their products and taste success.

Moreover, there has been much stricter vigilance and control over the activities of major corporations and politicians as can be seen from the regular exposes that appear on Social Media which would not have been covered in the Mainstream Media.

In addition, countless lives have been saved due to the awesome power of Social Media that gives people the necessary platform to respond immediately and provide relief. As was seen during the numerous instances of floods and earthquakes around the world when ordinary citizens rallied and provided relief bypassing the established channels.

How we use New Media matters

Therefore, it is clear that Technology and Media being value neutral, it is entirely up to us to make good use of the Immediacy Trap and to ensure that we do not use it for nefarious purposes.

For instance, just like Dynamite can be used for constructive purposes such as blasting through rocks and flattening obstacles, it can also be used to kill people and in the same manner, the Immediacy Trap can be harnessed for the good of society.

Indeed, it is easier to reach out to anyone anywhere and everyone everywhere on an immediate basis anytime and every time without much hassle and this does put power directly in the hands of the people.

In other words, the Immediacy of response guarantees that the gatekeepers of information and power are cut out of the picture and this is the Immediacy Trap working for the good of people.

For instance, it is quite common for business leaders these days to respond to all and sundry within no time since otherwise, the Tweets and the Facebook posts go viral in no time and this can lead to serious repercussions to their reputations.


As can be seen from the points made so far, we can and cannot live without the Immediacy Trap and hence, it is better to arrive at an understanding of how we can coexist with the perils of such a Trap and the same time reaps the benefits from the promise and opportunity afforded by it.

To conclude, be online and be constantly vigilant and but do not led that lead you to take impulsive decisions that can harm your business or your career.

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