Stop Pushing Me: Living in a World of Push Notifications

Eh hem. You have a new comment on your Facebook status…

Eh hem. It’s raining outside…

Eh hem. Conan O’Brien just tweeted…

Eh hem. Eh hem. Eh hem.

My smartphone has enabled me to be always connected and always on, just like my devices. I never miss a beat any more. Nothing gets by me. I’m like Batman or better yet, Sherlock Holmes –  always aware of what is going on in my digital surroundings, solving any mystery about tomorrow’s hazy Atlanta weather or catching that sneaky email the second it lands in my inbox. Gotcha! No escaping my grasp. Muahaha. Of course I wasn’t surprised when you told me that girl from high school was pregnant, my phone beat you to the punch. Of course I knew to wear pants this morning but bring a change of shorts for the afternoon; my phone sends me a message every morning about the weather. I’m omniscient and omnipresent now that my smartphone sends me push notifications – I’m just not sure if I like it or not.

It is hard for me to say stuff like, “Back in my day, we had to read the newspaper to find out which celebrity was pregnant.”  Smartphones gained popularity and texting became a regular source of communication. Facebook was second nature to logging on the computer. ‘Apps’ were the new thing. Today is back in my day. Maybe I’ll say this stuff fifty years from now and sound like an old man who walked butt-naked, in the cold of winter, up-hill to and from school both ways, but until then I am just living in my day.

In my day, information is thrown at you. Left and right, up and down, front and back. All day, all night, every waking minute, every sleeping second. It is amazing how much information we’re getting. I just wish I could be surprised for once; genuinely wow’d. But it is tough because my phone is buzzing me every 10 minutes telling me something new, something I signed up to find out. Is it spam? No. I voluntarily chose to receive this information. At some point in time, I enjoyed the idea of knowing the millisecond @JobFaust tweeted his Mid-day Breaks, but now I want some me time.

There’s a lot of talk these days about bullying. Kids pushing other kids. Telling them stuff they don’t want to hear. Are push notifications bullying me? But I started it! Right? Right.

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