On Being Constantly Connected

24 January, 2021

We all know people who seem to live on their screens. People who spend an inordinate amount of time swiping and tapping, pointing and clicking, twiddling and twerning. At email. At social media. At instant messages. At whatever their screens throw at them.

No matter what time of day or night, one of their devices is always on. It’s always within easy reach. Those folks are always connected in one way or another.

I don’t see the point of being constantly connected. I don’t see it as a great way to live. In fact, I’d argue that being constantly connected isn’t living at all.

Being constantly connected is a distraction from your life.

But there are far too many people who can’t separate themselves from their phones or tablets or laptops. Why? It could be fear of missing out. It could be they’re enjoying that little hit of dopamine they get when they check something. It could be the idea that being constantly plugged into the online world is an essential part of living in the 21st century.

By being constantly connected, you’re trading depth for quick hits of what amounts to little or nothing. Alerts and notifications, constant check ins or tweeting or posting to Instagram break up the flow of what you’re doing. They break up the flow of your life.

Think about why you feel the need to be constantly connected. Then remember that constantly lifelogging doesn’t make an experience better or more memorable. Remember that constantly jumping whenever you get a notification doesn’t enrich or improve your life. Remember that constantly scanning social media, RSS feeds, news, and email doesn’t necessarily make you better informed or smarter.

The time and attention you spend on all of that could be better spent on other, more important matters. Matters that that have more substance, more depth, and more meaning to you and to your life.

You could better spend that time with your friends and family — focusing on them, on the conversations and interactions you’re having, on your shared joy, on the moment. You could better expend that effort learning something or reading in depth. You could use that time to relax and reflect.

You can survive, you can thrive by cutting your connection for even a few hours a day. You only need to give it a try.

Scott Nesbitt