Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Our mania with being 'plugged-in'

I have a pet theory. See if you agree with it.

I happen to think that one day - not as far off as I used to believe - we are all going to wake up and realize we are paying a huge price for our mania with being 'plugged-in' 24 hours a day.

I used to think it was only me and people like me who deliver information and news for a living. But every day as I see more and more drivers with their heads down looking at their phones, as I walk through the food plaza at the mall and see literally every one there staring at their phones instead of interacting, I have my doubts.

Last week I was off. Of course, "off" for me has a slightly different definition. Each year in the spring I try to take a week in the spring to set up the porch, deck and do the long list of chores around the house that I have been putting off all winter.

But before I did any of that, I started my day pretty much the way I start every day. By grabbing my laptop and checking our website.

I also carry a cell phone with me everywhere I go. I check email constantly. I am not one of those persons who puts a message on his email saying he will be out of the office and when I will return. I have no great interest in coming back to the office on Monday and staring at a mountain of more than 1,000 emails.

We happen to be somewhat short-staffed in the newsroom these days. This got even more acute last week when one of our editors got called for jury duty - and actually was selected for a trial, despite his occupation.

So I also was monitoring what the staff was doing as well.

I talk about this all the time. I yearn for another time, before cell phones, before laptops, before information followed us everywhere.

I know that is not going to happen.

I don't think there is any way to turn back on the information super-highway.

My biggest challenge most days is just to get the hell away from it all, at least for a few minutes. People here at the Daily Times know I've hit my limit when they see me go out for a walk.

I have one question for you, one I've been asking myself recently.

When is the last time you went one day - 24 hours - without looking at your phone. Or checking your email. Or firing up the laptop.

It didn't happen for me last week.

And to be honest, I can't tell you the last day I was not 'plugged-in.' I don't think that's necessarily a good thing. And I don't think I'm alone.

If you agree, post a comment.

Or a suggestion for an increasingly addled editor.

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