Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back on the treadmill

Well, it's been great to have a few days vacation time, getting away from the daily pressures and gaining some perspective.

We made sure that the holiday rental had WiFi because I had some conference calls scheduled in the away-time and I can't quite bring myself to drop out of touch completely. The recent BBC article on "worlidays" (a combination of work on holidays) struck a chord.

However, it was great to unplug from the fire-hose barrage of info through Twitter and the other channels for a few days, even though it was tempting to reach for the nearest electronic device in the down-time. Initially it was an effort of will to choose not to check for updates; it became easier as the days of August wore on.

Now, though, I'm back to the constant flitting from channel to channel, afraid to miss the next vital update. Sure, it was great today in London when an afternoon meeting fell through to turn to Twitter and text and the other tools on my iPhone - and I was glad the tools enabled a spontaneous meeting over lunch with the chair of a brokerage firm...

But I can't help but feel that our 24-7 news cycles, where everyone is now a publisher in their own right, has enslaved us in a way that even the great period of historic industrialisation in factories could not: at least factory workers could leave the conveyor belt behind when the whistle blew at the end of the shift.

Now, I take the conveyor belt of constant work and information flow with me 24-7. It's the first thing I check each morning and the last thing I switch off at night and with me in my shirt pocket in between,; even on the beach.

Progress? Or modern-day information worker slavery?