Saturday, July 09, 2016

SOS: The message in a bottle advises against phubbing!

"I ve tried adding ur contacts to my phone and I couldn't find you on WhatsApp" wrote one in her email to me.  And a few days ago, an old high school friend asked me via Facebook, "Do you use Whatsapp?"

It disappointed them that I do not use WhatsApp.  I don't because of a simple  reason: I already suffer from a messaging overload:
Three functional email addresses
My Iphone
This blog, of course.
If people cannot reach me via any of these, not to speak of the good old snail-mail, then maybe the message is not that important to begin with!

Of course, I am not the only one who suffers from this "tyranny of messaging":
These days, messages come at me from so many directions that it’s incredibly distracting and even harder to deal with. Friends, co-workers, business acquaintances and strangers contact me on multiple siloed services, which can signal subtle shades of immediacy or weight.
Exactly.  It will only get worse:
And this weird, mixed-up communications structure is about to get more complex, because U.S. tech companies — following a strong trend in Asia — are turning messaging from a service into a platform, with supposedly intelligent bots and assistants and apps built into them. Apple is beefing up iMessage. Facebook is beefing up Messenger. Google, which has been behind in messaging, is launching two new platforms: Allo for text and images and emojis, and Duo for videos.
Maybe these bots and assistants and apps will be a means to controlling and focusing your messaging and communications, but that would be a hard, tricky job. More likely, I fear, they will just spew more messages and notifications they think — wrongly — you care about.
Stop, stop, stop!

I systematically refuse to use any of the new messaging platforms for the same reason that I have intentionally scaled back my Facebook presence, where I have pruned my friends list to a manageable number (I'm sure there are "friends" who wonder why I am no longer their "friend"!):
The rabbit holes are everywhere, and it’s too easy to fall down them.
Every one of these messaging platforms is one major attention-sucker and, before I know it, I would have wasted hours with nothing but trivia, which is what I want to avoid!

In any of those platforms that I already use, I have always made sure that nothing is ever "pushed" across to me--I have to physically act to pull down the latest messages if I really cared.  I cannot imagine how people function if they are constantly pinged by the latest message on the gazillion platforms that they use.  I shudder to think about the constant interruptions; no wonder that people are all the more stressed out now.

One of the reasons that people sign up for every messaging platform: The fear of missing out, or FOMO as it is often referred to.  FOMO apparently is so overwhelming that people feel the urge to reach for their smartphones even when they are socializing in the real world with fellow humans:
According to a new study in Computers in Human Behavior, “phubbing” — snubbing someone in a social setting in favor of a phone — has evolved from a psychological habit and sign of technological maladjustment to an acceptable social norm.
FOMO leads to phubbing, of course.  

I suppose I should be happy if you read all the way till this sentence without being distracted by the notifications on your smartphone.  Hello, you there? ;)

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