Do you ever think about how our cell phone culture has fostered an expectation for immediate access to each other? Texting, phone calls, facebook messaging, commenting on social media posts...we expect to be connected to those near and far through this virtual world and if we don't receive the "connection" in a timely manner we begin to wonder, question, and over-think the reasons why.
This "immediate access" culture is akin to "Instant Gratification is Making Us Perpetually Impatient" , an article in The Boston Globe by Christopher Muther. We are growing more impatient with internet speeds, waiting in line, slow product delivery and, my theory is, we are growing more impatient with each other.
I remember the days when we didn't have cell phones. If you were out you were out and someone had to catch you at home if they wanted to talk to you on the phone. It allowed for connection and engagement with your physical surroundings, with the people you were with at the time, it allowed for safer driving, and I think it allowed for healthier connections with others and with ourselves.
I am not completely against cell phones.
I use my cell phone all the time to keep in touch with people, work, plan, schedule, blog, interact with a wide internet community - the list goes on and on and its all good and good for me. My issue is with us all having and expecting immediate access to each other all the time. It is actually ok to be occupied with someone face to face, a task at hand or just have some down time and not answer/reply immediately.
What does "immediately" actually mean? Sometimes it is expecting an instant reply - within seconds. Also, in my circles, immediate may mean within an hour or so...still too immediate in some circumstances.
I have done some experiments - choosing to not answer the phone all the time. Not to be rude but to have some boundaries with my time. Time at home with my family, if I am at work or visiting with a friend. I found that the risk in putting the phone away and not answering when a message comes in is forgetting about it.
As a culture of "immediate access" I believe we have also started to move on from the moment very quickly and forget about what's behind, moving to the next moment, the next thing that is happening "right now". It's easy for calls, messages, texts, emails and the like to go unnoticed and completely ignored. I have been guilty of doing this and also a recipient of being overlooked and forgotten.
The solution when purposing to put your phone away and not reply immediately is purposing to actually review messages and reply at a later time. In our 24/7, immediate access, non-stop world time management has gone to a whole new dimension and takes a new level of determination and skill (a topic for another day!).
My plan is for this to be the first in a Modern Manners series.
So this Modern Manners question is - How do we personally manage ourselves in an immediate access culture?
I certainly do not have all the answers, just a few ideas:
Do you have any ideas or strategies about managing yourself in an "immediate access" culture? I'd love to know what they are! Comment below to share them.