You have no messages
How many times do you check your phone? And if often, for what reason?
After asking this question, I realised that I always keep an eye on my phone during the entire day. I started counting: I take about 2–3 long personal calls, and write about 50 short messages. I check my personal email 10 times a day. I am an eager user of Spotify & iTunes, so neither headphones nor my phone leave my sight (and/or my fingers). In parallel, there are Skype business calls and e-meetings going on, dozens of work emailing, with coffee breaks and an occasional browse on the internet (also using my phone).
So the next logical question is — why would I do this? Truthfully — for no legitimate reason. No one is dying, no one is asking for help, I am not expecting any literally important calls. Some would say that this is a typical case of FOMO syndrome, and it might be true. The funny part is that I don’t use Facebook, I rarely post on Instagram, and Medium has for a long time been the only social media platform I approve of using. Informational or tabloid portals are also not my thing — sometimes I go weeks without checking what is happening in the outside world.
But what I realised is that we feed on attention. It is brutal to admit it, and it is brutal to actually fathom it.
I am part of the generation which spent it’s adolescence trying out mobile phones for the first time. We did not have internet or apps — but we had messaging service. And after some time this became the first and foremost used way of communication: our parents had pen pals, and we grew up with text pals. So messaging has grown into my first choice communication channel: I rarely call, I text. It’s easier, it’s more thought through, it leaves you distance.
It is also a guaranteed way to get attention. Come to think of it — you shove your words in the persons face whether he likes it or not. Lots of people write about technology robbing us of our attention with it’s notifications, beeps and never ending feeds. But frankly, it’s the only thing we are able to control and own ourselves. We are the ones deciding to give it away. And even more often we crave it so badly.
Again — the question is why? Why do we need acknowledgement so badly? Ancient men had to use smoke signals, people used to write long letters and send telegrams. They would go months without reply. Yet today I get nervous if he does not respond to my text in half an hour.
Mobile phone is no longer considered as a tool to simply convey a message, or call for help, it grew on us like an additional body part. An instrument of the most traded currency on the market — attention. We spend our days awaiting replies to meaningless questions that only indicate our craving for it. Craving to be understood, loved and adored on a 24/7 basis.
And I believe it’s time to take a step back. Be it a small one. It’s time to put an effort and listen to yourself. Without your phone in your hands. Without meaningless texts and calls. Just to get your thoughts in a row and putting in writing only the ones that are truly worth it.