It’s late while I write this. Even at the start, the clock has ticked over the midnight mark, and above this dimly lit laptop display I can see darkness through a window. For all intents and purposes, I should be asleep. Now, I should clarify: I’m not normally asleep before midnight on most nights, so this isn’t anything different for me. Being awake isn’t why I’m writing this article. It’s the fact that my phone keeps making sounds, notifying me that I have messages waiting for me to look at.
I’m writing this article because I realized just a little while ago that I don’t ever disconnect.
I’ve never really thought about it, to be honest, but I guess I go out of my way to make sure that I’m connected to the services that I use to reach out to people, but I don’t go out of my way to disconnect from those same services “at the end of the day.” That could be that I don’t think of my days as a traditional day, more or less, but I’m not sure that’s entirely it.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that being connected has taken on a life of its own. It has, hasn’t it? I look back at my first phone, and the fact that it didn’t connect to anything other than the cellular network. I even had to watch how many text messages I sent. But now, while I have to keep an eye open at that monthly data allotment, my phone connects to so many things it’s ridiculous.
And I never disconnect from them. Not until I shut my phone off, anyway. Even now, as I mentioned earlier, I’m sitting here well after midnight and my phone is constantly notifying me that I have new messages. When I check to see where they are coming from, I can see that I have notifications from Facebook chat, Google Talk, a pair of text messages, and notifications of general information from several different social networks.
The issue isn’t so much that the notifications exist, but the fact that I’m actually interacting with them. I’ve already responded to a few of those notifications, and I’m going to answer the other ones here shortly. The fact that I’m connected is only made worse by the fact that I facilitate that connection. Despite the fact that it’s late, well beyond the reasonable hours of the night, I’m furthering conversations at multiple avenues.
So where’s the limit for this connection? This invisible link that we have to our phone, or our tablet? Why do we feel the need to have applications, services, and other devices always connected to the people in our lives? The most obvious answer would be “in case of an emergency,” and that makes perfect sense. It is good to have a means of communication just in case.
But right now, at this exact moment, that’s not what’s going on. My phone is connected to services that I could easily disconnect, and services that I should disconnect before I eventually go to sleep. But I won’t. I’m not going to turn my phone off, so there’s a good chance that at any point in time, someone could interrupt my sleep, simply because they see I’m online and available. Always available.
We are all always available, even if we don’t realize it. If we don’t take the necessary steps to disconnect the devices from the services that connect us, no matter the distance in miles, then we’ll always be always available.
Do you ever disconnect the services on your device? Turn your phone off? Or go into your instant messaging application and sign off? Or are you like me, and just let it stay connected at all times? Are you always connected? And if you are, do you mind at all?