Sorry I didn’t respond immediately…

I was busy spending time with my small family.

Immediacy. Too many of us have fallen victim to the instant gratification syndrome. Texting, social media notifications, read receipts, etc. When I first got my smart phone, about 4 years ago, I left notifications on. Facebook, mail, texts…woo hoo! Or so I thought. Within two days all notifications were silenced, nullified, beaten off my screen.  Text messages and missed calls are all that show up on my phone.

I think a few of you were just horrified by that statement. I can almost hear. ‘Why? You won’t know when someone message you! What if you don’t answer them right away?’

They’ll probably live. Or find someone else to answer their question. If it’s important, I would hope they call me. Or, heaven forbid! have to wait for my response.

Yes, I said it. Wait. Remember the adage, “Good things come to those who wait”?

Waiting, patience, a reminder that everyone is not immediately at your beck and call. It’s something that’s sorely lacking in our society. And it’s something I have a tough time dealing with considering I’m trying to promote myself as an author on social media.

There are some days that things are so crazy at the EDJ that the absolute LAST thing I want to do is turn on my computer and fiddle with stuff. I’ve gone entire Saturdays without turning on a radio, the television, or even my computer. I’ve learned that my mind is already geared in a slight OCD/manic-depressive manner that instant – and constant – notifications simply serve to set me on edge quicker.

They mess with my focus. If I didn’t have to respond to client emails at work, I would only open my email two or three times a day. Although, I may start to do that, that way I can focus on that email without worrying about getting back to the tasks that checking my email just interrupted.

Focus. Something I’ve noticed I’m lacking lately. There are so many distractions at our fingertips. I’ve gotten to the point where there are certain places I don’t check my phone. The car – no brainer there. My life comes first. I’m not texting you back until I get to my next stop – and that doesn’t mean stop light. The grocery store. I still use a hand-written list and thanks to narrowed aisles and everyone else not paying attention to the world around them, it’s easier to bob and weave without worrying about dropping my phone. At a restaurant. There are a few times I’ve given in because no one else at the table is paying attention to the physical bodies sharing the space with them but I try to refrain from checking mine as much as possible.

So no notifications for me. I’m sorry if it frustrates you that I’m not immediately responding to your texts/chat/tags/etc. At the heart, I’m an artist and for me, getting away from technology is the perfect way for me to reset, recharge, and renew the creative muse that lives within. Has it lost me online friends? Maybe. But more than likely, these are the same people who either never respond to or don’t read a full text from me so no big deal in the long run.

I’m probably shooting myself in the foot, but at this point I really don’t care. We all have lives to live and families and tasks to take care of. If I don’t hear from you in the next 10 seconds, I’ll understand. I almost miss the days of snail mail where it took up to two weeks to receive a letter, read it a few times, then craft a lengthy response that answered any and EVERY question contained in the original missive. We crafted our responses instead of popping off the first thing that comes to mind. That things will get you in trouble faster than anything!

Am I swearing off social media completely? Nope. I’ve made a ton of friends and some wonderful connections. Will I log out for hours on end? Absolutely. Sometimes even days. (Oh Grand Canyon trip I miss you – no wifi, no service, no plugs – simply river, sand, stars, and sky)

This is a friendly reminder to unplug from the technology and reconnect to those around you. If you’re someone I miss, I can kiss your picture on the screen, but I can’t hug a monitor. Scent, touch, and auditory memories last so much longer in the heart.

I’ll see you when I see you 🙂

Melanie

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3 thoughts on “Sorry I didn’t respond immediately…

  1. Very insightful. For me, I am not offended when someone doesn’t respond right away. I look at instant messaging as a way to send someone a message about something so I don’t forget. I expect them to read and respond at their convenience, not mine.

    I have absolutely no idea what people are dealing with when I send them a message (nothing, driving, ambulance ride, family crisis, in a meeting, out of their service area, abducted by aliens, etc?). In light of this lack of knowledge, for me at least, it is very rude to expect them to respond instantly. After all, it is called instant messaging, not instant responding.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t eagerly await a response when I am attempting to share exciting news, I do. I still don’t get offended if don’t receive a response in seconds, hours, or even days. If they never respond, it just gives me something to talk about the next time I see them.

    The most common reasons I don’t respond instantly? I work the graveyard shift and someone has tried to contact me during my night. I am thinking about the text and considering what would be an appropriate response. I am driving.

    1. I didn’t think about it that way. See? You gave me new insight. I guess because I’ve had people completely disregard my response because it didn’t come when they wanted it to. I love and loathe modern technology. *sigh*

  2. I hear ya’ sister. I haven’t turned notifications off, but as my phone is usually on vibrate I rarely notice them. Trying to find the happy medium is a challenge. Like you I’ve met some amazing peeps online. In fact, some of which are closer than people in my day-to-day life.

    Stop and smell the roses, my friend 🙂

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