Thursday 6 December 2018

Is Silence Golden? Not For Me And My Phone

I am a slave to my smartphone. It rings, dings, pops and clicks constantly with each service or app having its own unique sound. With every Facebook comment and tweet my phone makes a noise, it buzzes and I feel the need to look at it instantly.

I've never been a fan of putting your phone on silent. It bugs me when you ring someone and they don't answer it and then get the excuse 'sorry my phone was on silent’ - or you send a message, which you know has been delivered but it takes them an hour to reply. Yes I am impatient.

But I have noticed I look at my phone a lot, probably too much. So I decided to try out putting it on silent. My wife has hers on silent all the time and doesn't feel the need to read every notification as soon as it appears. My phone would still vibrate, but no audible sound would come out.

I tried it. To start with I felt quite free. Liberated from whipping my phone out like I was in a showdown in the Wild West. I got all sorts done without looking at my phone every few minutes - cleaning, house work, watching TV but the best was listening to music without the sound dipping for each notification.

However the novelty of a quiet life soon wore off. When you have a different sound for every notification type you know when a WhatsApp message comes in, which is more important than the latest comment on a Facebook thread. Therefore if I was particularly busy I could ignore a Facebook pop, yet look at a text message. With my phone on silent, all notifications felt the same - so I would miss messages that needed looking at - I even had a habit of missing calls.

This was somewhat overcome by my Microsoft Band which shows notifications on my wrist and vibrates each time - but it just wasn't the same. The fact I own a wrist notification device compounds my need to see every notification as soon as it arrives. I don’t even need to take my phone out of my pocket.

So after less than 48 hours, I turned my phone off silent and am enjoying my usual array of sounds. I am making a conscious effort to not look at my phone for every Facebook and Twitter notification - which isn’t going too well - but I still pick it up for messages.

I will have to admit defeat and come to terms with the fact that my smartphone has taken over my life. Social media, instant messages and always being available to answer a call is what my day-to-day life has become.

Silence certainly isn’t golden for me. Ding!