Well, that was fun. My post on Tuesday –“Are We Really Becoming Digital Zombies?” — managed to find its way to the WordPress homepage. As a result, I had an all-time high of more than 2,000 readers. I don’t expect that will happen anytime soon, if ever. So from that standpoint at least I’m back to reality.
But clearly the notion of being so constantly plugged into digital technology and communication media that we lose a sense of our physical reality — and in some instances actual real-world relationships — resonated with many. I was taken back by the thoughtfulness of the comments posted here and the willingness of so many to share personal experiences.
I’m not advocating a return to a time when we didn’t have access to so many forms of communication. We benefit from the Internet and all its news, information and entertainment venues. And there is nothing inherently wrong with the connectivity provided by e-mail, smart phones, Twitter, Facebook and so on.
But I sense that many are starting to look for balance. They — and include me here — want to have the option to unplug — to walk in the park without the cellphone jingling — to take a vacation or spend the weekend without being a slave to e-mail.
I recognize that much of this is personal choice. Hey, there’s no law that says you have to drive with a cellphone tethered to your ear. If fact, the opposite appears to be true in a growing number of communities. But some of the inability to get off the grid is directly related to employer expectations — and to the expectations of friends and family.
And then there is the other extreme. I was in DC for the day yesterday, taking a Continental Airlines shuttle from Cleveland Hopkins to Reagan National and back. And on the return flight, a young woman across and one row in front of me worked the BlackBerry the entire trip. (Where’s Chuck Schumer when you need him? I digress.)
I’ll admit I chuckled as I watched her reading, typing, texting, sending and on and on.
Oh well. Back to reality.
Update (at 11:45 a.m.) and full disclosure: I had nothing to do with the problems that BlackBerry users (including me) are having with e-mail this morning. But gee. I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts.