Unwilling to unplug

I’ll not go as far to say that I’m addicted to social media, but I will say I fall asleep reading articles on Flipboard. With only that bright, unnatural light that electronics give off to keep me awake.

I wake and check my phone, but I get emails overnight…from work no less. I clutch my ipad as I run around Berkeley taking care of errands, but my shopping list is on there and I catch up on the news while I wait in line at the post office. It’s a routine and I’m barely aware of it until suddenly I can’t connect.

Cisco did a study on Generation Y and their internet habits and the results are not surprising.

1.  One in five people check their smartphone for email, text, and social media updates at least every 10 minutes (two in five in the U.S.).

Honestly, I wanted to know how often I checked my phone to I timed myself. Surely I couldn’t be as bad as those people. Sadly, I am those people.

2.  40% of respondents go through ‘withdrawal’ effect and feel as if something is missing when not checking their smartphone constantly. 

In the past year, I’ve been in many situations where I couldn’t connect. Traveling solo usually meant most interaction in my own language came from being online. I don’t mind drinking in a dive bar with non-English speakers, but sometimes its nice to be able to express yourself without having to explain yourself. So while I’d love to say I’m not in the 40%, I think it healthier to admit that I’m working my way into the other 60%.

3. 70% of people said mobile applications are important to their daily lives.

My parents are now owners of smartphones and the learning curve wasn’t steep. My mother surprised me in how quickly she was able to pick up on things, despite her reluctance. I think…well, if our lives are now permanently connected, that we should seek balance. I dislike the idea of not being connected, but I crave alone time, from people and from gadgets. I enjoy reading Reddit in bed just as much as I enjoy conversations with my boyfriend over dinner (no phones allowed).

Merging my desire to stay connected and finding a way to be close with people is always a balancing act with me, but if I have to give up one or the other to accomplish either than it won’t work.

Sitting in Paris while my mother spoke to my little sister via FaceTime is one of my favorite memories. The sights, the sounds, all the while hearing my sisters voice and my mother’s laugh. That’s the balance I try to achieve everyday.