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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Living without “Always ON”



I have twitter, facebook, foursquare, google +. Quora and Orkut… What do you have?



I have work

I was little late to enter the “Always ON” bandwagon- of people with gadgets that keeps them connected 24x7. About one and a half year ago, I joined this group, with a blackberry and aircel blackberry plan. Then I had the world at my fingertips and was all set to conquer the world.

Initially it was fun being online always. My mails would go with a foot note “Sent from my Blackberry Smartphone”, announcing the world that I have a blackberry (however this can be customized or removed- I could have reset it to say “Sent from my iPhone” ). There’re apps available for everything, except may be for doubling your salary or buying some time when you near deadline or downloading some food to eat while hungry. Used foursquare for couple of months, became mayor of 50 odd places, eventually deleted the application, as I realized it is total waste of time.

Though applications like twitter for blackberry, facebook for blackberry, gtalk were good, my blackberry battery wouldn’t survive even half a  day if these applications are used heavily. So on a multi-day trip, ability to use these cool features depended on my ability to keep the phone charged. Being connected was useful during nano super drive and various other travel, but connectivity wasn’t as smooth as it was expected to be at all the places.

Couple of months ago, I came out of this elite group of mobile users, who are “always connected”. I now am connected only from a wired device, at home and in office. 3G was talk of the town, but several months since 3G services started, I understand it is just a little better from 2G and is nothing extra ordinary in terms of speed and excitement.

Did being always on help in me being more productive? Did it add to convenience? Did it help me save money? To some extent. (Only because of twitter I could know about a Karnataka Bandh and could change my plans on the go and visit Bekal fort and Chandragiri fort) I figured out it is possible to manage without this luxury.
  • Not even 10% of my mails had an urgency that needed immediate action/response. Almost all of them could wait for couple of days.
  • My current job doesn’t need me to be connected on the go. It is enough if I check and respond to communications during office hours or from home.
  • Having a connected device is a distraction. Takes away your precious time from higher priority tasks
  • Good amount of money was going down the drain in the name of data plan that wasn’t being utilized to the full extent.
  • While it is deemed cool to be able to upload status and photos on the go to twitter and facebook, I realized that world will go on without my updates and my friends/followers can wait for a day or two
Disadvantages of not being connected always:
  • I am feeling the inconvenience only during travel, which is not so often at present. Without a device which is connected, I miss being able to use Google Maps, tweets and email during the trips
  • Can’t live tweet during events
  • Updates I may wish to share need to wait for  a day or two
  • Sending a twitter DM or FB message was cheaper than sending an SMS or making a call
What I gained without being online 24x7
  • Able to focus more on work & hobbies, than getting distracted by a device for new updates which are neither urgent, nor important
  • Able to save few hundred every month
  • People who email won’t get angry if I don’t respond/act in few hours.
It is possible to live without the boon or bane of staying connected. I may still go back to some data plans, if found cheap and good, but for now, I am comfortable not having the world at my finder-tips.

Personal Opinion only. May change over time.

5 comments:

Sujatha Sathya said...

interesting post.

agree with you when u say most of the mails could have waited couple of days

apt title

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sujatha

NAMA TULUVER said...

So Nicely weaved all aspects of being 24x7 online.
I feel some apps have bettered our life like Google maps which helps a lot during travel.
Specially during A/c train journeys, no need to get down from Upper coach just to see if station is nearing !!!

zephyr said...

Always on, makes one a slave of social media and robs one of any sense of privacy. It is necessary only when one's livelihood (meaning job) depends on that status.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Zephyr: Correct

NT: well said. it has its advantages.

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