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A Constant Barrage of Agonizing Digital Noise: Is Your Life Like This?

Illustration for article titled A Constant Barrage of Agonizing Digital Noise: Is Your Life Like This?

What better occasion than National UnFriend Day to reflect on the dump truck of digital noise poured on us daily? It's worse than phony friends. Updates! Likes! Retweets! Do you feel frazzled? This well-executed video sums it up disconcertingly well.

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I'd be lying if I said I haven't been kept up by the gnawing presence of my inbox. Sort of sad, isn't it? Really—the last thing anyone should be thinking when away from a screen (which itself is rare) is some parenthesized number. And yet, we can often find this digital muck trickling into our brains when it's least wanted. How often have you had to put down a book because of a text? Or wondered about a nagging friend request at the movie theater? There's no shame in it—it's simply the way we are now, more often than we'd like. Yet another reason to unplug every once in a while, no matter how much we love our tech.

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DISCUSSION

I really don't understand this. I consider myself a heavy technology user and I have 28 Facebook friends, I follow 4 Twitter users, and I get maybe five emails a week (I'm pretty sure the counter on my inbox has never been higher than 1). It's totally possible to use these technologies to their fullest without giving yourself overload.

If you're following 800 people on Twitter and have 500 Facebook friends, you've really done this to yourself and you don't have much room to blame the technology. I know that some people use email heavily for work (my work email goes to my work PC and nowhere else, so I don't count that in my inbox estimate above) but in that case why are you checking it while you're sleeping or trying to read? If you're off the clock then don't worry about it. If you run your own business or are otherwise never off the clock, then the presence of tech probably doesn't make you any busier than you would have been anyway.