The Running Commentary

Remember when a cellphone just made calls?

I remember getting my first cellphone as If it were yesterday, it was a Nokia 1610 and had a talk time of 30 minutes! The battery life was a very robust 4 hours, in standby mode! It was quite a chunky device…… ah hell it was a brick, but it made one heck of a statement.  When I pulled this out I received instant respect, I even took it overseas with me to the states and turned it on several times while I was there, but that was before we even had international roaming!

How times have changed……..

Today we don’t talk about a cellphone, it’s a mobile device. We do so much more than make, or take, a call on it now.  My little device not only makes calls, it retrieves my email (from 2 accounts), takes pictures, plays music, keeps me connected to my friends via whatsapp, twitter, FACEBOOK. I can navigate to my destination of choice (using a choice of GPS apps) and find several alternatives along the way. I keep entertained with a plethora of games and youtube videos. I synch notes from presentations and courses for retrieval on my pc. I can remotely operate several other devices as well. All of this is a good thing for many reasons, but it has got me wondering……Are we just too mobile, or even more so, are we just too busy now.

I have had several instances in the past months where I am sent an email, only seconds later to receive a call asking whether I have received the email.  My phone has so many feeds coming into it now that I have to turn the device to silent or change the notification settings in order to get some sleep!  I have watched in horror how much of the news, without the correct facts, goes viral in milliseconds, only to have reams of corrections following.

This little device of yours and mine has fundamentally changed our operating psyche, we are hard coded, it would seem, to respond now.  Just look at the level of “multi-tasking” that happens around you.  Conference organisers for example have been forced to include # tags into their presentations.  In fact they have become so common place that no day is complete without several of these trending!

How many times are you interrupted during the course of a conversation where either you, or the person you are talking too, says “excuse me while I take this”. It’s like the incoming call or message is more important that what is currently happening in your engagement with them.

Now, let me say this very quickly, I am sure that all of this connectivity is a bad thing, but I am fast approaching the point that perhaps we need to filter a lot more of it upfront.  I am reaching the point that says: we need to respect each other and our time far more than we currently do.  I have for the past few weeks being practicing a discipline of not taking calls when they come in, during what I consider to be family time.  I have also stopped checking my email after 8pm. I may miss a thing or two along the way, but I am certainly richer for spending more quality time with those around me.

So remember the time that your mobile device was just a cellphone…….there are likely to be many benefits to you for getting the priorities correct.

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Mike • September 19, 2011

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