February 5, 2009
How addicted to email and the Internet are you?
Last night, after participating in a live chat among media professionals on Twitter, a friend who also had been in the chat called to compare notes.
"Did you see that [Hotshot Editor X] was on there?" my friend said.
"Mmm hmmm," I said.
Clack. Clack. Clack.
"What's that sound?" my friend said. "Are you...emailing someone?"
Guilty as charged, though I was actually responding to a direct message someone had sent me over Twitter. Worse, I had no idea I was even doing it. After a long day at the computer, I was completely on autopilot.
Don't get me wrong. Rude as it is, I've done my fair share of reading and writing emails while on the phone. (Who hasn't?) But I've always been aware that I was doing it, so aware in fact that I'd try to type slowly and quietly so as not to be detected pecking away on my freakishly loud keyboard. (Sorry, mom!)
But to be so sucked into my ADD-addled day of researching, writing, editing, and corresponding that I wasn't consciously aware of my own (excruciatingly loud) typing? That was a new one on me.
It reminded me of the sleepwalker written up in the medical journal Sleep Medicine in December for emailing her friends in her sleep.
According to the UK's Telegraph, the woman "...turned on the computer, connected to the Internet, and logged on by typing her username and password to her email account. She then composed and sent three emails."
One was an invite to a party the next day. Another simply said, "What the....."
In past blog posts, we've talked about being so hooked on your mobile that you take it with you to the loo. We've also talked about how, thanks to technology, it's easier than ever for work to bleed all over your life, even when you're supposed to be vacationing.
But we haven't talked about how the Web has become as integral to many of us as eating and sleeping. Or about our Web addictions (those that we can talk about in a PG-13 environment anyway).
So, first question: Who else thinks they -- or I -- need to start unplugging for at least a few hours a week? Second: Have you witnessed any bizarre "can't live without my Internet" behavior among family and friends lately? Do tell.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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