Are we On? (Dave Vilhauer blog)

We live in a day and age when we are constantly bombarded with information.

No matter where we look or what we do, we are surrounded by stimulus, some of it useful, some of it relaxing and some it annoying. Is it any wonder why people want to head to the lake or take a hike in the woods once in a while?

I was reminded of this fact this past week when I realized that I had an unread message in an area on my Facebook page. Now, I admit that I am not the most fluent person in the world when it comes to all the bells and whistles of social media, but I am finding it hard to keep up.

For starters, I have to pay attention to direct messages and mentions on Twitter. Then there are the direct messages and shares and as I recently forgot, a separate messenger area on Facebook. That is in addition to voice mail and texts on my phone, and three email accounts that I have to keep track off. That does not even include a website I recently created for my new book which also needs regular attention.

Is it any wonder why I do not get involved in snapchat, Instagram or other areas of social media?

It’s gotten to the point where a person could literally spend a huge chunk of the day just monitoring and responding to all of the interaction that occurs on the aforementioned areas. I remember the era when all you had to do was answer the occasional phone call on your landline and check the mailbox once a day. Now, you turn your head for a minute and you’ve likely missed four emails, a text, and a message that landed in a spot you didn’t even know existed.

To be sure, we are more connected as a society now than we ever have been. As to some degree that can be a very positive thing. I have been able to reconnect with former classmates and coworkers, and I have been able to disseminate valuable information with the click of a button. However, it can also be problematic in more ways than one.

Far too many of us have gotten addicted to our cellular devices. We spend more time texting than we do talking, more time staring at our phones than we do paying attention to our surroundings. It’s amazing when I watch a sporting event. People will have prime seats, the contest they are supposed to be watching can be riveting and yet there they are, glued to their cell phones.

We have reached a point in our lifetimes where our phones have taken over as our number one possession. People can’t seem to function well without them.

Personally, I know that I spend way too much time on my phone, but I also have been known to leave home without it. Times like that make me smile a bit, knowing that I can survive without the device.

I applaud those who don’t treat their phone like an ankle monitor and there are times I wish I was more like them. But then, how would I know how many messages were left unread or in my case were left undiscovered?