Offline is the new luxury (10)

Time spent on your smartphone: how could you pass it more wisely? And what exactly does it do for you? Each Friday, Irene, who together with Astrid is the founder of Flow, writes about this particular issue.

Can we please turn all those sounds off? Sorry guys, but I find myself being less and less tolerant when it comes to all the sounds around me. Especially when it comes to people who have a cell phone that CONSTANTLY beeps with incoming messages. Is it just me or is it incredibly anti-social when people do not put their phones on silent? It drives me mad, because by responding to the beeps, they’re deciding (perhaps unconsciously, but still) that the person at the other end of that message is more important. They believe that our conversation can be stopped mid-flow because there may be something more interesting, more exciting or more fun taking place elsewhere. How weird is it that we now find this behavior to be okay? When children interrupt a conversation between two adults, they are told they have to wait their turn. But apparently, the phone has the right to interject anything and everything.

During an interview for Flow, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin told our reporter Jocelyn: “You may be tempted to think it rude not to reply immediately, but think of it a different way. Consider instead how rude it is in fact to expect an answer right away? To expect that you immediately get priority over everything else that the other person is doing? We have to learn to have more respect for each other’s time.”

Well said Mr. Levitin. So I have now turned off the notification sounds for my Whatsapp and sms. And I hope that this will be the new norm. Do you agree or am I starting to become a grumpy ‘holier-than-thou’?

Our journalist Jocelyn de Kwant spoke with Daniel Levitin about his book The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (Dutton, 2014), and the interview was featured in Issue 12. You can read an extract of it here.