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Jewish Journal

Email OCD and other social media overload!

by Julia Bendis

December 20, 2010 | 2:26 pm

The other day, I started to wonder if anyone else has the same obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to Facebook, cell phones, Blackberry’s, Blueberry’s, ipods, iphones, ipads and God-knows what else…

For a long time, I resisted getting a more ‘appropriate’ cell phone, or as my kids would say, an adult phone.  So now that I finally broke down and purchased a Blackberry, I get pinged and ponged, and ‘notified’ of every move of every person in my contact list!  To a “Normal” person, this wouldn’t be an issue, but to me its overwhelming, mainly when I am driving.  Not wanting to grab my phone every time I get an email, a text, a Facebook message or something else, I am forced to pull over and check it out.

Yes, for a “Normal” person this wouldn’t be a big deal.  They would just wait til they got to their destination or whenever they had time, and check it out.  But seeing that this is Me we are talking about, its a problem.  I absolutely can not let a message sit in my Inbox without having to see it right away!

I can’t let emails pile up, I have to check them one at a time as they come in.  Seriously, I don’t know how people have unread messages just sitting there, it would be like money sitting in my hand, and not being able to spend it.  What drives me even more crazy is not being able to reply right away.  And when I say: right away, I mean: right away!  The thought of someone sending me an email or text, and then just sitting there waiting, and waiting for my reply makes me anxious. By the way, that’s actually the picture I have in my head: the person sending me an email or text, and then sitting back and just starring at the screen, waiting for a reply…

I do expect people to reply back to me right away as well.  I just don’t get what is so hard about hitting the “Reply” button and sending a quick text.  So rude!  However, most people in this world are also not as anal as I am about those things.

This issue wouldn’t even be so bad if it didn’t make my driving commute such a pain in the ass, and a long one at that.

Picture this:

-I leave the house, my cellphone on the passenger seat.

-Ten minutes into driving, Ping, someone sent me a text.

-Me pulling over to read the text.  Why? Because someone may be in trouble.  How often in the last 5 years has someone been in trouble, you ask?  Never.

-Text, my husband asking how my day is going.

-Me typing a 5 minute text about my day. Send.

-On the road again.

-Ten minutes into the drive, on the freeway now, I get a Pong from Facebook.

-Jewish Federation inviting me to a “Rock the Dreidel” event on December 4th.  Am I coming?

-Have to reply.  Click “Maybe”.

-Back on the road.

-Now I am ten minutes late for my appointment, but at least I feel good that I didn’t miss anything.

-Just as I’m about to pull into a parking lot, my phone makes some other noise, Email.

-Screech into a parking spot, without turning the car off I grab the phone.  A friend asking about a guy I was setting her up with.

-Gotta reply.  Yes, great, where, when and what. Whew.

-Run into my appointment.

This goes on all day!

I am in a serious technology overload.  Thinking how good it used to be before cellphones, before tracking devices, and check-ins on Facebook (more on that idiotic invention later).  I could go anywhere, anytime and no one would ever bug me.

But then again, I jumped out of my car every 10 minutes when my pager would go off, so I could call the person that paged me!  No wonder i never made it anywhere…  I guess I’ll take the Blackberry over a dirty payphone.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I was born in Ukraine, in the former USSR, and grew up in Riga, Latvia which is on the Baltic Sea.  My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1989, right before the...

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