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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Is there such a thing as too connected?

I recently switched phones as my Blackberry was starting to go and the slow spinning clock was starting to drive me mad. My new phone does not have the persistent blinking light of the Blackberry simply a chirpy little whistle. While at first I missed that blinking light, after a few days it was a relief to not always be notified of an incoming email or Facebook notification.

It ties in with an article I read that said people who use smartphones like that for work tend to be less productive and more stressed as they feel they are always working. For me, at least that came to be true. I felt like my phone was running my life. However, I wasn’t just concerned with work emails but checking the multitude of Facebook notifications coming in. Something about that blinking red light compelled me to check and stop the blinking light.

My new phone doesn’t blink. It whistles at me when I get a new email or notification and leaves a little envelope in the upper hand corner but the blinking has blessedly stopped. Do I feel less stressed? Actually, yes I do. It’s like the phone is no longer forcing me to look at it. It’s amazing how quickly the habit got broken and the relief I feel to not look at my phone to see if its blinking or not.

Oddly, I am no less connected than I was before, I still get all my emails, urgent or not. I still get Facebook notifications although interestingly not as many as online or as on my old phone. Now, amazingly wonderfully, it is only notifications from things that directly affect me, posts made to me, or posts I have commented on. I am not sure what is different about the new phone, an Android, but whatever it is, thank you for that. I didn’t really need to get a notification for every memey poster a friend put up. It was disheartening to wake up to over 100 notifications on my phone in the morning.

Somehow, I feel less compelled to always check my emails, to make sure I am up to date on everything on Facebook. I feel less compelled to always know what is going on in the cyber world around me and I am now looking around at the real world instead.

The relief is palpable. I wonder now why I hung on to my Blackberry for so long, worried that no other phone could fill its shoes. This new phone is not filling its shoes and for that I am eternally grateful.

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Is there such a thing as too connected?