As I wake up the first thing I do is open my laptop and check my emails. So, it seems I have replaced checking my phone and social media with Emails.
Thinking about it now the last thing I did before I went to sleep was checked my emails. What was I looking for? Its almost as if it is not the content of the emails I am interested in but I am looking for some kind of connection with the outside world.
Or maybe I am trying to regain control of my virtual self by being validated by emails which, in turn, would validate my actual self.
This brings up a very interesting question which is what is the relation between the virtual world and the actual world? It seems that there has been a blurring of boundaries when it comes to the virtual world and the physical world. How much of others opinion of you is based on your social presence?
These are themes that I would like to discuss when looking at social media and also Role Playing Games (RPG) in the future, but are questions I think are valuable to think about when looking at how technology affects us.
What occurs to me now is the correlation with the Skinner box test. I seem to have developed a superstition when checking my emails. As soon as I wake up I must check my emails. Sometimes there is one and sometimes there is none. However, I feel that by checking in the morning it is more likely that I will have one. In actuality when I check my emails has no correlation to if there is one there or not.
Of course, if I do not check I won’t know if the email is there or not but I have become accustomed to checking my phone for any texts, emails or social media alerts. It has not only become a habit, but an emotional necessity for me to check in to my virtual space as soon as I wake up.
The Pangs of adrenaline are still occurring, but the feeling has changed from excitement too, dare I say it, dread.
By now I am quite enjoying being unattainable. Not having the anxiety of constantly checking my phone, not being able to see if X has text me or Y has emailed me.
It is a sense of relief to not have the constant burden with me which I know, will soon enough be an all too distant memory.
I think to myself do I need a smartphone? Can I live without emails and social media and just have a regular mobile? (Notice here how there is no mention of giving up my phone altogether)
I reminisce of a time before my original IPhone when I had a 3-day battery life and no social media on hand. It was an event coming home to check it rather than being anxiety or a social crutch in which to spend my time alone.
This time without my phone has shown me just how I thought my phone was quelling my anxiety but was in fact exacerbating it. Enhancing my virtual reality, while I was missing out on physical lived experience (one not governed by technology.)
As the clock finally struck 12 I hastily turned my phone on to see what I was missing out on.
9 texts messages (in which I missed one social event) nothing on Twitter and a couple of work messages on Facebook.
How much had I actually missed out on in those 3 days? Not a lot it seemed but I had seen just how time-consuming and anxiety-provoking my phone has been in my life.
Let me just set the record straight at this point. I am in no way blaming my phone or social media at all. I see them as a valuable tool when used correctly. The only thing (or person) to blame was me. I was too blase in, immersing myself in my magic mirror into my virtual world. (aka my phone)