January 17, 2010

Habits are changing. After growing up with technology at our fingertips, the Millenial generation has quickly embraced the various devices that hold our lives together. With phones, email, and social networks, people are in constant communication from the moment they wake up til they go to sleep. As the NY Times points out, it’s not uncommon to go straight for a computer or smartphone first thing in the morning. There seems to be a lack of balance.

The idea of using a phone as an in-house intercom or missing the bus because you were on Facebook is ridiculous. Texting while driving: dangerous. Answering your phone or texting at dinner: rude. It’s as though we have no willpower to detach ourselves from the technology anymore. I mean, before personal computers were so popular, were people itching to go back to work to check their email? Don’t you remember how annoying it was when you had to answer the landline during dinner? Oh, I forgot, maybe you’ve only had a cellphone and don’t ever remember having a landline.

And I know I’m not one to talk. I check email constantly; even when I know I haven’t gotten any. I’ve answered my phone while at dinner; though I’ve become much better at just ignoring calls. And I try very hard not to text while talking to you unless it pertains to both of us (e.g. texting a mutual friend we’re meeting). Most depressing to myself, I do get a bit antsy when I don’t have my cellphone or internet access for an entire day. Sad, I know.

Anyways, I wonder if our attachment to being “plugged in” stems from the fact that it’s still relatively new. We’ve learned to accept all the benefits of our new devices. But the connectivity they allow creates a false sense of urgency to answer, follow-up, or take action. Perhaps, once the excitement wears off, we’ll form new habits that won’t involve checking email every five minutes.


One comment

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head. This broadband thing is new for most Americans. I used to be unable to start my day without checking my email and my newsfeeds. Now, the only reason I use the computer in the morning is to load my shuffle with podcasts to listen to on the work commute (I hate local radio – especially during commute hours).

    I don’t check my email obsessively anymore either. I use Linux on my main computer and it has a Mac Growl-like thing that notifies me whenever a new email arrives. When that happens, I see who it’s from. But I don’t sit there actively checking my emails. As I’ve commented on here before, I’m not plugged in via my phone. I don’t text, check emails, or facebook from my phone. So whenever I’m away from home I’m away from tech. And people almost never call, so I always answer when they do because they probably need some help (esp my dad).

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