Giving push the push…

A couple of months ago, I realised my smartphone was starting to rule my life.

Ping! A new email has arrived. Ping! Someone has replied to you on Twitter. Ping! Someone liked your WordPress blog. Ping! Someone has mentioned you on Google+.

Okay, to be fair, the last one of those almost never happened (I like Google+, but I get that most people aren’t interested). But you get my point. Because, of course, the second the phone pings, you’re drawn to pull it out and check out whatever new notification has come your way.

But why? It’s not as if a Twitter like or a new email isn’t something that can’t wait a few minutes or maybe even a few hours, is it? Do I really need to know straight away that someone likes this blog entry? (assuming anyone actually does 🙂

It’s very easy for me to be drawn into the digital world, anyway, but that immediacy is a whole other thing. I almost began to wonder if I am the master of my phone or it of me.

So… I decided to turn off so-called ‘push’ notifications. Now if my phone makes a sound, it’s a text or a phone call – and that’s likely to be more important to answer.

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Has it changed my life? Have I become less of a digital slave? Yes and no. I still carry my phone everywhere, I still use it frequently and often during the day. But I feel more in control. If I want to check my Twitter notifications, my Instagram likes or whatever, I can. It’s when I choose to.

It’s also had the knock-on effect of making me question my thoughts about getting a smartwatch. My understanding is that one of the key uses of them is to receive and act on push notifications. Without that function being used, is it any more than an expensive digital watch? And frankly, my much-worn ordinary watch doesn’t need frequent charging.

How much are you led by ‘push’ notifications from apps? Have you ever turned them off? Let me know your thoughts on this.

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