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Are you always on?

October 17, 2017

What does it mean to be always on? And with the way the world is today, can you ever really be offline? My personal opinion? Not really. It’s almost impossible for the vast majority considering that every minute of the day in 2017

  • …Twitter users send 456,000 tweets
  • …Americans use 2,657,700 GB of internet data
  • …The Weather Channel receives 18,055,555.56 forecast requests

Yeah…whoa! And even when we’re not browsing these digital channels in real time, most of us have them, or others like them, on our minds – I think that still counts.

The best article I came across during my college research days is a now ironic piece called Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana. Published in 1995 via Newsweek, the author describes the Internet as a “trendy and oversold community,” calling the bluff of all visionaries predicting that this new and exciting innovation would play a prominent, long-term role in business, education, government, news, etc. Many people thought similarly, but my, how things have changed!

Female employee working overtimeWhile I think we can all agree that the Internet was the springboard for many great and valuable opportunities, concerns about the not-so-positive consequences associated with being ‘always on’ are heard loud and clear around the world. Take Europe, for instance. The Workforce Institute at Kronos recently launched its Europe chapter with a panel debate headlined “the Always-on Con,” on October 10th in London. Thought leaders and industry experts gathered to debate the good and the bad effects of technology on our everyday lives.

So, does all the technology we know and love eat up too much of our time? Fifteen million UK internet users who participated in a ‘digital detox’ to balance their time spent on- and off-screen think so. Mobile devices have made it so we never have to go without. Do you Google Search at the dinner table and Google Map every drive, even if you know where you’re going? I’m guilty. The smartphone is a marvelous convenience, and I will admit it was a struggle to turn it off and lock it away for one very painful 3-day college assignment.

But does this level of connectivity really contribute to increased happiness and productivity? There are two sides to every story, and this plot has only just begun. Check out #alwaysoncon on Twitter for insight into the European awareness campaign and comments from thought leaders!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. JoyceM permalink
    October 18, 2017 11:52 am

    Thanks for the great post, Lauren. This is a hot and ongoing debate. We’re exhausted when we’re sucked into an always on state of existence, but we also benefit from all these cloud solutions that make our lives easier and more connected. Therein lies the debate.

    • Lauren Nawfel permalink*
      October 19, 2017 8:33 am

      They certainly can be exhausting, and yet, I can’t image a life without the connectivity they provide! It’s quite the paradox.

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