Posts tagged as:

signs you need to step away from the computer

Smart Phones and the Rise of the Big Head.

by Amber on January 17, 2011

On Friday, I sat in a meeting with ten other people. Not ten CEOs, or ten stockbrokers. Just ten of my coworkers. Very important people to be sure, but not Very Important People. And yet almost every single one of them had not only a laptop in front of them, but also a phone.

A smart phone.

And every time one of those phones blipped, the blippee would stop whatever he or she was doing to check and see Who Needed Them. Because, of course, having a smart phone means that you are Needed at all times.

I’m equally guilty.  While at my writer’s group the other night, my phone blipped not once, but four times. After the first time, I should have put it on silent. But I didn’t. Instead, I kept it at my side, peeking every time it chirped at me. I told myself it was because Brian could be trying to get in touch with me. Could have a baby-related emergency. But I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the real reason.

When here at home, I keep that phone of mine handy, checking my email, twitter feed and messages on average of about twenty times a day. I tell myself it’s better and less time consuming than pulling out my computer, but let’s face it folks. There’s nothing in my inbox deserving of that level of engagement.

I am not that important. Few of us are. But something about our society encourages us to pretend differently. Something drives us to stay connected at all times, neglecting the people and world around us to plug into that other world. The one where we are Important.

I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to wake up ten years from now and realize that I’ve completely lost touch with reality.

Am I being overly dramatic? Maybe. But just the same, I’m going to be turning my phone off at night. I’m going to leave it on silent while out with friends – or in meetings with people I need to talk to. I’m going to keep not  just my feet, but my eyes, ears and attention here in the real world a little more often.

There’s more to life than a smart phone. And the few people to whom I am in fact a Very Important Person? Are, for the most part, right here in front of me.

And that’s just how it should be.

Who’s with me?

{ 12 comments }

Seven Signs You Might Be Too Plugged In.

by Amber on August 17, 2010

Do you ever wonder if maybe you’re relying on the internet and its array of addicting toys and tools a little too much? I sure do. Here are ten signs that you might need to unplug:

You see the world through tweet-covered glasses. Ever been out to dinner with your husband and had to fight the urge to pull out your phone and tweet something important like, “Thinking of feeding the waitress my dinner. She is scary skinny.” No? Me neither.

Your google reader  regularly tells you your unread items number in the hundreds. Mine currently says I have more than a thousand posts to read. Now, I love you all. And I want to keep up to date with each and every blogger who visits me (and many who have never heard of me). But, people? This is out of control.

You want to hashtag everything. Everyone knows that twitter hashtags can make the difference between a mediocre tweet and a super funny one. So it’s no wonder that you might want to extend that form of prose to your facebook status updates. But when you start signing birthday cards, “damn, you’re getting old. #dontworryjustkidding” you might have a problem.

You  spend gorgeous summer evenings and beautiful weekend afternoons on the couch with your laptop. I know I was  guilty of this one. Until I figured out that I could take my laptop outside and still get a signal. A firefly show and an active twitter stream? Yes, please.

You have ever excused yourself to go to the restroom so you could check your twitter/facebook/gmail. I’ve been known to just “sneak a peek” while at the grocery store, in the mall—even while in the doctor’s office. But if you find yourself excusing yourself from children’s birthday parties or family dinners, you’ve crossed the line (I haven’t yet).

You know more about what’s going on in the lives of your online friends than with your real life buds. When this starts to happen? It’s time to use your phone to make actual calls, people.

When without internet access, you start to feel twitchy. I’ve never been addicted to drugs, but I think internet withdrawal has some similarities. I know when I couldn’t figure out how to get access while at BlogHer, I started to get a little bug-eyed. And the sense of relief when I finally saw those little bars pop up? Was a little crazy.

You know, I was going to make this a top ten list. But I think I’ve made myself sound pathetic enough, so I’m going to go call my mom instead. While I’m gone, tell me how you know you’re spending too much time online.

{ 42 comments }