Register Sunday | June 16 | 2019

Faking Omnipotence

It’s easier than ever to come across as though you are always watching, but not without being willing to spend a substantial chunk of your time watching regardless.

With a fairly simple mixture of push notifications, email alerts / notifications, a smart phone, and a pathological need to be connected, I’ve found I can usually respond to anything that doesn’t require further research or concentrated work, within 2-5 minutes.  In social situations, the time frame is literally how long it takes for the notification to arrive, and how quickly I can type a response on my iPhone’s screen.

But faking omnipotence requires one commitment that I’m entirely unwilling to make: I’d need to prioritize the information over the experiences it interrupts.  While I might not interrupt a meeting to check my Boxcar notifications due to professional courtesy and a need to focus on the issue at hand, I’m trying to be better about not interrupting a conversation, or meal, or movie (I know, I know) to check my phone.

[If I check my phone constantly around you, either something important or stressful is happening in my ‘connected life’, or I consider you to be the kind of person who also enjoys constant connectivity, and will understand that me checking my phone doesn’t mean I’ve stopped listening.]

This is going to be the defining choice of this decade.  It will be possible to fake an identity, fake 24/7 attention, fake omnipotence, and fake any number of other things.  But to do so, you will need to subjugate everything else in your life to the facade, or it will fail publicly and painfully.

I’ve been saying for the last several years that there is no such thing as a secret online.  My new stance is that creating a sustainably believable falsehood is just as much work as living your genuine life, and you’re going to have to pick one.

Which is why I’ve ignored the last three Boxcar notifications on my phone, to finish writing this.

(From Attention Industry. Follow Crowley on Twitter)