Disconnection Will Be the New Black

July 17th, 2012 13 Comments

Reading The Connected Viewer: More Than 50% Of Cellphone Owners Now Use Their Phones While Watching TV reminded me of a modern problem I’ve been meaning to discuss, i.e. the value of doing nothing. Specifically, these piece of information rang the bell:

58% of smartphone users said they use their phones to have something to do during commercials or breaks

I’ve been saving that time for a while, having been a TiVo junkie for more than a decade, so I totally get the reasoning. Over the past five years, I’ve also been filling up all the quiet (read boring) moments of my life with a smartphone.

On the one hand, technology has allowed me to be productive in otherwise unproductive circumstances; it has also provided me with distracting entertainment during moments when my time is being treated as a surplus, e.g. the doctor’s office, the mechanic, jury duty selection, etc.

On the other hand, I feel like I’m gradually losing the ability to be quiet and relax or think with an unencumbered mind, which is a bit scary.

Even more scary is that some people may never experience these states, which are quite nice actually.

The future holds disconnection tactics for the hyper-connected, e.g. the disconnected vacation packages.


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13 Responses to “Disconnection Will Be the New Black”

  1. joel garry Says:

    Yeah, my kids have to be occupied all the time. I try to tell them they are going to have to learn to accept boredom at some point in their lives, but I’m probably wrong. It doesn’t worry me too much, because when the battery dies on the DS they don’t get the DT’s. As long as they are acing their classes I’m pretty OK with them being able to cope however they figure out to. There have been some worrying “I’ll just finish this level” incidents though.

  2. Tom Foremski Says:

    I’ve been switching off from online/cell for hours during the day for years. I’m surprised that other people don’t. I need to switch off from conversations with others, so I can listen and engage in conversations with myself.

  3. Rui Amaral Says:

    Hell yeah. I have been starting to leave the BB and smartphone in the drawer when it comes to my personal time (ie., when I am not on-call or I am on vacation). Trying to catch up and books and music that I have missed (but no movies or TV) because my time has been occupied by these gadgets. It’s the little things in life that I am reconnecting with and enjoying more as I turn the frenetic lifestyle OFF.

  4. Jake Says:

    I worry about my daughter. I just hope quietly playing, creating Lego buildings or something can compete w all the digital distractions that I have in the home for the adults :)

  5. Jake Says:

    Good for you, seriously. I do this too, when I need to do unobstructed thinking; the problem for many people is that they either don’t have to have quiet time or don’t see the value of it. By the time they’re faced w a thinking task, they have no idea how to disconnect.

  6. Jake Says:

    Awesome. Re. reading, I like the iPad for reading, but unfortunately, it also has games. So, I have to apply extra discipline to get reading done. Not a huge problem for me, but I can see this as a major issue for kids. Just like doing homework on the computer, recipe for distraction.

    I like your description of “the little things” that you’re enjoying. They seem little until you miss them. Good stuff, thanks.

  7. Mr. & Mrs. Sloan Says:

    Not sure why people do it. Remember, there’s always the “OFF” button. I use mine regularly. I like to concentrate and focus.

  8. Mr. & Mrs. Sloan Says:

    agreeing w/you. time w/own thoughts is helpful.

  9. joel garry Says:

    seattletimes.nwsource.com/comics/babyblues.html has had an arc of kids building legos the last few days.

  10. Jake Says:

    Not everyone has that kind of discipline, if they even understand the need for and benefits of quiet time. I’ll bet serial multi-taskers and hyper-connected people would debate the value of quiet time.

  11. Jake Says:

    Legos rule, they also happen to be where paychecks go to die.

  12. oraclenerd Says:

    I started using My Tracks when riding or running. It wasn’t such a big deal with running as it was strapped to my arm, but I could hear it ring (should have turned the ringer off). But on the bike, it was mounted on the handlebars, so I could see who was calling. The last couple of weeks I haven’t taken it with me, it’s been nice. It didn’t happen because I was trying to become disconnected, the phone probably got wet somewhere along the way (sweat) and has died on me. I’m back on the htc Incredible.

  13. Jake Says:

    I loathe running, but I do enjoy walking as quiet time. I usually send half a dozen voicemail notes to myself as my mind wanders between topics.

    Did your Galaxy Nexus die? Sad. I have an unlocked GSM Nexus S :)

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