IT Changes Everything

When I was a child and young man, telephones hung on walls and there was no indication of who might be on the other end when it rang. All calls–friends, family, colleagues, misdials, telemarketers–were treated the same. We stopped what we were doing and went to see who was there and what they wanted. With smartphones, the nature of responding to phone calls changed. If my office phone rings, it usually displays who is calling and I decide to answer it or not. If my mobile phone rings, I also check the caller and decide to answer or not. A ringing phone no longer distracts me for more than a moment unless I was to talk to the caller.

Around the time I turned 30, I started using email. When I was ready, I booted up my computer, logged on, and read and replied to email. Email did not distract me unless I wanted to see the messages. I have noticed lately that I often have multiple tabs open on my web browser. I have a couple of email accounts and a couple of chat accounts open and they are all sending me notifications of new messages.

I am now distracted by emails, chats, and other instant messaging systems that are mediated via digital networks; these used to stay locked away until I wanted them. I am no longer distracted by phones calls.

For some reason, this was interesting to me… but it only interested me long enough to turn off the notifications of new messages on my email and chat.