I (mostly) don’t get them anymore. A little over a year ago I turned them off almost completely. Moreover, the notifications that I do let through are by screen only—no sounds or vibrations.
As some of you are well aware, I have an incredibly demanding job where important emails are constantly being sent to me throughout the day. Also, like many of my fellow bloggers, I get a fair amount of personal email because of this site, etc.
So what? Well, the truth is, damn near all of it can wait, at least for a short bit, and until I manually decide to check [insert service here]. To be clear, I check both personal and work email manually. I have to think to check them. (Triage has made dealing with personal email a bit easier, even if that’s just in my head.)
Admittedly, it’s rare that too much time ever passes that I don’t think about checking my work email, but by increasing the number of steps that need to be carried out to actually make that happen, I can oftentimes convince myself to not check it, and continue doing whatever I happen to be doing at the time. (This is made easier still by the fact that I always keep the Mail app on my last screen of apps, alone, so I don’t constantly see it when scrolling around my phone. Crazytown, I know.)
So, given that emails are out of the picture, the only social-based things that blow up my phone these days are SMS/iMessages (these are relatively high volume, but I like to see them in real-time), FB messages, and Twitter/ADN stuff (e.g., mentions, DMs, etc.), and, as mentioned, these do nothing more than light up my screen; if my phone’s in my pocket, lying upside down on my desk (on a satin pillow, of course ;) etc., even these don’t interrupt me.
All of this goes for phone calls too; I rarely know about them as they happen (which, yeah, could be seen as reckless in some situations), and sometimes I don’t even know if a voicemail has been left until days or weeks later when I have to jump into the app for whatever reason. (I loathe talking on the phone, so that app—yeah, the phone app—is buried in a folder. Crazytown, I know.)
Dave Morin got some flak recently for his ringtone comment (“I don’t use a ring of any kind on my phone. This is so that I am always on offense and never defense.”), and yeah, it does toe the give-me-a-break line, but I totally get where he’s coming from.
The fact is, it’s 2013, and if I’m interacting with someone via a network, I want to do it on my terms, namely (mostly) asynchronously. In nearly every instance, you have no right to interrupt me, nor me you.