One of the great ironies of the jet age is that we pride ourselves with possessing technology to enable us work more efficiently. We have dishwashers, washing machines, computers, smartphones etc, but somehow for all this technology we find ourselves complaining that we have no time. Taking an introspective look at my own life I realize I read a lot more books before the smartphone and tablets found their way to my pocket and back pack. I guess you can say the time saving power of technology is only rivaled by its time wasting power
While in the past we depended on the morning paper and evening news to give us our daily fix of happenings around the world, these days we find ourselves refreshing news sites, glued to Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Instead of monthly issues of magazines covering our interests we can now follow blogs with new articles on an hourly basis. This stretches from celebrity gossip to science and technology breakthroughs.
As if the temptation of news and interest wasn’t enough, we have to deal with the incredible time waster that is social media. Of course this medium serves different purposes for different people, but as far as the majority is concerned I think we can all agree that we all managed just fine without social media. When you include the likes of BBM, Kik, and Whatsapp, the time wasting power of social media can at best be described as a fallout of over communication.
How many of us can resist the urge to ignore the blinking notification lights on our mobile phones? How many of us can declare certain hours in the day as internet black out hours and totally stay offline? On close examination it wouldn’t be out of place to describe our behavior towards the internet as an addiction. Scientists have even discovered a spike in our happy hormones when we see notifications. Apparently we are excited about the idea of people thinking of us to contact us. This can come in form of likes, comments, or messages.
In these days of fast food, fast sex, fast web, we must be watchful of our habits online and mindful of the need to unplug regularly to attend to other parts of our lives. It has become common for people to text over eating even in the company of others. I have even seen couples on their mobile phones when they are supposed to be having together time. The need for undisturbed self-reflection cannot be overstated especially in these days of information overload. Take some time out, think, it’s still free.
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