The rise of battery angst. The era of technological dependency and plug hopping.

I seem to have slipped into a kind of obsessive behaviour. Like some kind of furtive, feral creature, i spend my days lurching from socket to socket in search of the elusive ‘fully charged’ mantra. The summer months, spent roaming between offices, festivals, camping and long train journeys, which used to be driven by a fear of running out of clean socks are, increasingly, riddled by battery angst.

Battery angst, for those of you who have avoided it so far, it the almost obsessive monitoring of every activity for the number of milliamps that any given habit drains from the power supply, coupled with the aforementioned vampire like desire to suck up a few extra joules from every public facing socket.

It’s safe to say that i’m firmly wedded to technology. I love my iPhone, am inseparable from my iPad and feel orphaned if the power gives out. Worse, i’ve started planning my life and travels around the availability of sockets and battery life. Well, maybe i’m not quite that bad, but i’m definitely on a slippery slope to dependency and addiction.

Connectivity is a fine thing, but can lead to delusions of importance and a definite lack of balance. Not answering work emails is one thing (even though on average over 30% of people remain fully connected to the office when on holiday), but obsessive maintenance of every online community of which i am a member is a totally different matter.

Turning off Twitter or abandoning my flock on Facebook, let alone losing my connection with LinkedIn feels like going away and leaving the dog to fend for itself. There’s no denying that i’m hooked to social media, and it’s an addiction i need to address!

With an ever increasing move towards interconnected systems, with ever more work moving online and it being ever easier to access these systems, the boundaries between formal and informal environments, work and play, active and passive engagement are blurring. It risks breaking down the differentials altogether, leading to an existence of perpetual interaction and the need to forever live between recharge cycles and 3G signals.

OK, so it’s not quite that bad, but we are living our lives in different ways. No longer prisoners of the office and carefree holidaymakers. We need to be sure that in advancing our technology and coming together online, we don’t accidentally lose the crucially important hidden places, the informal environments where we play.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Engagement, Formal Spaces, Informal Spaces, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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