I turned my phone to vibrate and it was liberating. I didn’t hear the *ding* when any message came in and I realized how much my phone owns me. I’d even go as far as saying I hate my phone.

There’s a sense of “I have to be on top of all means of communication in order to do my job to the best of my ability”.

  • Answer every email as soon as it’s received.
  • Respond to every text message so the person doesn’t think you are ignoring them.
  • Chat back to the person who Snapped you a message

I will advocate that if you want to get ahead in life, responding as promptly as possible is essential. People look at you as reliable and conscientious of them. Big brownie points when you do this. HOWEVER…

I counted 70 emails that I declared pertinent (ones I didn’t automatically delete) on Monday. I’m sure this isn’t even a large sum compared to others, but it’s enough to make my phone ding often enough that I notice it. What this does is that every time my phone dings, I drop what I’m doing and look at my phone to react to the latest message. This is not healthy and didn’t have to be dealt with a decade ago.

During the week, this doesn’t bother me much because it’s my job. I’m being paid to respond. I do notice though that when I go home, my phone doesn’t stop dinging and it is still begging for my attention. This is where I start to get annoyed.

When I leave work, I try to separate work time from me time. I’m not being inconsiderate if I don’t respond to you. My phone is not attached to my body. I don’t bring my phone everywhere I go. I don’t owe you a response as soon as it’s received. Believe it or not, maybe I’m thinking about how to respond to you before I actually respond. There are also times when I’m drunk as a skunk and either not paying attention to my phone or know that it’s dumb to answer. I don’t not respond purposely so don’t take it like a sleight of disrespect or dislike.

It’s wasn’t this way 15 years ago and society still survived. I would never argue that it isn’t easier without the connectivity of a cell phone. But there also aren’t rules that should be established that the cell phone trumps all and people who don’t use it accordingly are wrong. There isn’t right or wrong with cell phone use. The user can use it any way they please and not be judged on how its used.

I called Sam on Saturday and he didn’t pick up. He didn’t call back. I wanted to talk to him and he was either busy or didn’t want to respond. Do I find that annoying? Yes and no. 1% yes because sure I wanted to talk to him and he didn’t want to talk back. 99% no because he wasn’t doing it intentionally because he had other moving parts of his life and I judge him as a human far more than his phone etiquette.

Robots as humans in Westworld…not far off.

I know I’m becoming old school. I have no idea what the school kids are doing nowadays but I imagine their phone is being pinged 24/7, 7 days a week.  They probably respond at the drop of a hat and it’s considered rude if you don’t. I find it somewhat sad because we are becoming more machine like day by day. Minority Report. I Robot. Blade Runner. Demolition Man, Back to the Future. These aren’t movies. These are going to be real life. Robots and machines will start to become the norm. You already see it happening with drones and self driving cars. AI is taking over one way or another and the cell phone/internet and its ability to distribute information quickly is why it is accelerated. How that relates to me being annoyed by my phone, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m 100% sure they are related.

I don’t expect comments but I’m curious if you feel that the phone has made human beings unhealthy?