People love to hate connectivity. Crabbing about our “always on” culture is so commonplace, people even do it from their mobile phones. On social media.
This makes my skin crawl. As a freelance writer whose livelihood is only possible by being always on and the technology that allows it, it irks me personally, but there’s a larger reason why the complaint is wrongheaded.
Sure, having to answer an email on vacation or during dinner is annoying. It’s a small problem, and people do go overboard sometimes. But isn’t not being able to make dinner because you can’t leave the office worse? Or having to leave a vacation early to deal with a disaster?
Today, I am in Rockledge, Florida living out the evidence of why the ability to be always on gives me the ability to have a richer life. Doing what I do, it’s possible to decrease my work dramatically for a week, but it’s pretty much impossible to stop it altogether, unless I want to take a serious hit to my income. But here I am, able to spend a week with my grandmother, mom, aunt, uncle, sister, cousins and brand new nephew because I can work wherever I go.
Last night, I wrote a story at my aunt’s house. Today, I did an interview at Downtown Disney. Then I spent the rest of of the day enjoying my loved ones. I sent some emails from the car. Tomorrow I’ll work for about half the day and then snuggle with my nephew for the rest of the weekend.
If this is always on, I don’t ever want to be off.
The biggest synonym-related issue I keep bumping up against lately in my writing (as opposed to all of the other synonym-related issues) has been coming up with new ways to describe blurred lines. Hazy boundaries? Fuzzy fringes? Petering perimeters?
The thing that makes this rhetorical quandary interesting is that it’s not due to any one particular trend happening in one particular industry. I cover a number of topics, and in the last few months I’ve written about the blurring lines between brand publishing and advertising, engineering and medicine, women and tech leadership, art and economic development, media companies and technology firms, and, most recently, between urban and suburban places (coming soon!).
People have been free-king-out about Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post. In part, I get it. New media is scary. It’s especially scary when it appears to threaten to replace old media. When newspapers have long been the guardians of democracy, it’s not hard to freak out a little when it appears they are going away, sucked into the virtual world of pay-per-click media responsible for such journalistic gems as “The 18 Greatest Dog Smiles Ever sponsored by DENTASTIX®”
Lois, our giant white and black dog, wakes up every morning so excited that today is today. She loves today. Today, Lois feels, is the best day ever, every day. And why not? She doesn’t know about gridlock in Washington or women’s reproductive rights being under assault all over the nation, or how many extra bills popped up this month, or ongoing racial inequality or gender inequality or the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Also, she’s a dog.