The Communicative Isolation in the Age of Information Overload

Thoughts • by Sven Reifschneider • 01 April 2016 • 1 comment
#criticism #internet #privacy
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We stare at the PC monitor. We glance at our smartphones. We look at our tablets. We check our smartwatches. Because we might miss something. "Ju Lia changed her profile picture" pops up on all devices. Four times a bing for this news. It must be pretty important then. She's taken a selfie and used MSQRD to add a dog face to it. Something that will be as forgotten in a month as Flappy Bird.

Yet, we focus on it. We give this news a high priority. Mute the smartphone? Never! We might miss something important.

I meet up with "Ju Lia." Of course, Julia has a regular name, but on Facebook, she prefers not to use it - for privacy and data protection reasons or something like that. We talk. Her phone goes bing. She immediately turns her attention to her smartphone instead of continuing our dialogue. Two minutes later, she puts her phone aside. "Sorry, Leon sent me a cute video of his cat. I just had to watch it right away and reply to him."

Scenes like these are increasingly common. Even at a dinner together, many do not hesitate to put down their knife and fork because they must reply on WhatsApp.

We're more connected than ever. We have more and more ways to communicate with others and stay in touch. And that's what drives us apart. We live isolated in our own four walls - contact with the outside world takes place via the internet.

And when we do meet other people, many experience withdrawal symptoms because they might miss something important.

Snapchat is my personal highlight. Every meal, every trip to the bathroom, every meeting, every breath. Everything must be recorded and shared with followers. Then wonder how identity theft can happen or why they can't last five minutes without a smartphone.

Tyler Durden says in Fight Club: "The things you own end up owning you."

"Look, I have the new Apple Watch. It vibrates when someone writes me a message on WhatsApp." Such functionalities only intensify this information addiction. The Apple Watch with a link bracelet - the high-end model - currently costs €1,199.00 at Apple. One dares not even think about a hypothetical cost-benefit analysis.

The whole thing goes so far that acquaintances have already broken off contact with me because I did not respond within a few hours and was online at least twice during that time.

Everything must happen faster. And I must know everything. The smartwatch vibrates. Then I look at my smartphone. Faktastisch has found out: "Researchers have confirmed that unicorns really existed 29,000 years ago, living in the region around Kazakhstan.". Wow! I didn't expect that. Like, comment and share. My Facebook acquaintances should also get this important insight. The truthfulness of it? No idea. I don't go to to think.

I've opted out. Check my emails twice a day. I'm only in WhatsApp every few hours. Facebook and Instagram aren't even a daily thing for me. While I work, all my devices are muted. No bing can distract me from my concentration. Even if many find this fact hard to accept, as it may mean that I only respond to the WhatsApp message tomorrow.

In Facebook, I have created a list of people who are really important to me. And I only look at this list in Facebook. No ads, no unnecessary fan pages, no unnecessary news from people I have nothing to do with and who are only after as positive and exaggerated self-presentation as possible to boost their personal ego due to likes and envy comments.

I sleep better since I don't look at displays so often in the evening or use a blue light filter. I'm more focused since I mute my devices when I have important things to do. I'm more attentive in conversations and give my counterpart a certain significance since I largely ignore my smartphone when meeting people. Many people have an iPhone. Here's a pro tip: There's a small switch on the side of the case. It also wants to be used from time to time.

Yet many people, especially in my age group, are not interested in such things. Because we might miss something.

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About the author

Sven Reifschneider

Greetings! I'm Sven, a tech-savvy entrepreneur and dedicated photographer, located in the scenic Wetterau, close to the vibrant Frankfurt / Rhein-Main area. This blog serves as a nexus for my eclectic pursuits, a platform where I channel my expertise and intellectual curiosity into compelling narratives.

In my professional life, I steer Neoground GmbH, providing not just AI consulting but a gamut of digital solutions — from web development to creating our own SaaS products. With a background rich in tech proficiency, I consider myself not merely an IT specialist but an advocate for community-driven innovation and systemic change.

Beyond the tech world, my lens has been my artistic ally for years, capturing everything from intimate moments to grand celebrations. This blog converges these two realms — where tech-savviness meets artistic intuition, aiming for holistic excellence. I invite you to explore a myriad of topics that not only echo my own aspirations for transformative change but offer insights drawn from a breadth of experience.

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03 Apr 2016, 21:47

Eben Deinen Blogpost durchgelesen, liest sich gut und ja sehe ich auch so, aber ich bin zum Glück auch mehr der Mensch der sein Handy auf stumm schaltet und nicht sofort antwortet. Eben weil mich so Leute nerven die einem beim reden nicht in die Augen gucken, vermeintlich zuhören aber trotzdem jemand anderem antworten oder was lesen. Nervt mich an meiner Mutter und an meinem Freund zum Beispiel, wobei erwenigstens wirklich zuhört, mit meiner Mutter rede ich 10min und schaffe es das sie danach immer sagt: „was?“ – weil ich vergessen habe das sie ihr Handy ja nicht weglegen kann…