Okay, I don't really think connectedness is a word, but read on and hear me out. I think you'll understand what I mean.

In the age of iPhones and Blackberries, Twitter, texting and email, we've become more connected and accessible than ever. At just about anytime, I can be reached - or reach someone else. Whether it's through a regular phone call, a text message, tweet, or email, I've grown to accept (for good or bad) the ability to connect almost instantly with friends, family, and followers. The problem I'm discovering, is that most other people either aren't as available or simply aren't as smart dumb as me.

I feel I'm pretty quick to respond to emails, text messages, Tweets, and voicemails. Sure, there are times when I don't for a variety of reasons, but it's usually NOT because I didn't get the message right away. The problem I'm running into, is I'm starting to expect the same timely response I usually give. I know this is a problem that I've got to get over, but here's what I mean - and tell me if these doesn't sound familiar.

1. I send an email and expect a response rather quickly. (I guess people don't sit around there computer as much as me checking their email at least a few times an hour.)

2. I send a text message or call someone's cell phone and they don't answer. Don't people carry cell phones with them at all times? Why aren't they getting back to me? Should I take the hint that they just might be ignoring me? :)

I wonder if the whole SmartPhone thing is causing me to feel this way. If I didn't have a iPhone that allows me to check my email at any time, or text message, or use Twitter, would I be just as productive and happy? Do I really need to be available in a variety of ways at any waking moment? Do I really need to check my email or Twitter at halftime of my daughter's soccer game? Do I need to check it when I'm out with friends? Probably not, but I am - mostly because I can. If you have an iPhone or Blackberry, do you find yourself checking email and messages on a much more frequent basis compared to when you had a regular old cellphone - perhaps at times when you really don't need to? I bet you do. Are you better off now? I'm not so sure I am.

What do you think? I'd like to hear.

3 comments

  1. Jennifer // March 13, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

    Hi Chad

    I recently attended a session at a conference where 22 out of 37 people had iphones -- and 22 our of 37 people were using them during the session.....to check messages, to twit out messages, etc.

    I recently was at another conference when something totally unexpected happened and the response of one of the people was "I have no idea how to twitter what just happened."

    Smiles, and in neither of the scenarios did I have an iphone or even think to twitter....but I am not that connected....nor do I wish to be.

    I do think though that we live in a world that has expected immediacy and that both thrills me (in regards to finding information) and scares me to death (in regards to intimacy with friends, family, etc.)

    You asked some direct questions -- so if you don't mind, I will give direct answers.

    a. Do I really need to check my email or Twitter at halftime of my daughter's soccer game?
    Hmmm, at 1/2 time, okay....I mean if something really is pressing and needs your response. Otherwise, no. This is family time.

    b. Do I really need to be available in a variety of ways at any waking moment?
    To your family -- YES. To your work -- depends on your contract. To your PLN -- nope!!!

    c. Are you better off now?
    Right now I have a Razer with no text option. (I know SHOCKER). But I am buying the ipodtouch in about a month -- so honestly, lets check back then to see if I become tethered to it.

    You raised some good questions, Chad. Excellent questions.

    I guess, for me, it boils down to priorities and how "involved" I wish to be. I think it becomes a personal choice.....and with that, it becomes personal responsibility.

    Thanks for the post.
    Made me think.
    Jen

  2. Anna // March 13, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

    I enjoy being that connected, but probably it's because most of my family and friends are that connected as well. I have one friend that I have to force myself not to text because she doesn't pay for texting and she doesn't use it. And really there's no point calling her cell phone because it's anyone's guess who will have it - her, one of her kids, her husband... I'd be lying if I said I wasn't annoyed by that.

    Yes, I think smartphones are changing our expectations and the way we do things. If you email me - and I'm awake - I'll read that email within minutes. I wouldn't have done this before my iPhone, but I sure like that I can, now. I don't *need* to check my email at halftime, but does it really matter that I do? I actually would say that I'm better off - as long as I don't let it interfere with family time. But I feel like I'm a much more productive employee now that I can respond to the quick stuff without having to get back to my desk or on my laptop. And I feel much more connected with my family - texting my husband during the day because we really can't talk, or sending a quick "I love you" to my niece, or an "I'm thinking about you" to my sister. I honestly think this has made me MORE personable to my family and friends.

    Just my two cents.

    Anna
    @digimom
    http://techchicktips.net

  3. posts by tweisz // March 13, 2009 at 9:40 AM  

    I have been blogging about this myself a few times lately! I don't think it makes me (or you) obsessive, but I do think it makes me more productive. With tools like a smartphone, I'm working smarter, not harder. I get a lot more done than I used to, but I don't seem to be taxing myself that much more to do it. Do I check emails at my kid's soccer game? Heck yeah! It only takes a second and requires only minimal attention on my part to do it. Here are some other things I can do at their soccer games - tweet about how well they are doing (I have friends on Twitter who care), take pictures of them and instantly email them to my Flickr page, and sometimes even post pics and updates to Facebook about it. Thanks to my iPhone those things are simple to do, require very little concentration, and don't take my attention off the game. Grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles get more info than they normally would, which they appreciate, I don't go back to my computer that evening facing an inbox full of email, and I got to have a great time watching my kids. What's wrong with that?

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