During the past week, I have suffered in a minor way from laptop withdrawal. My mother was visiting me from Florida (which explains my absence from this blog), and I was thoroughly part of the real world — Broadway shows, bus tours, dining out, shopping, conversing, catching up. Every now and then, it would occur to me that my laptop might miss me, but I was bonding with my 75-year-old Mom. And yet, when I sat down to check daily emails and write one freelance piece, she said stuff like: “Wow, does anyone talk anymore?” Or: “Are you always online?”
This week, National Public Radio’s Scott Cameron, Editor of “Talk of the Nation,” noted in the program’s blog that someone in his building “has been known to sit in one of the stalls in the men’s room and click-click-click on his Blackberry while – er – doing his business.”
Why did Cameron bring this up? Because according to a new Sheraton hotels survey of 6,500 traveling executives, 35 percent of them say they would choose their Blackberry (or similar PDA) over their spouses. Another 87 percent said they bring their devices into the bedroom, 84 percent check their emails before going to sleep and 80 percent check their emails as soon as they get up, “before their first cup of coffee.”
Weirder still — 85% peek at their e-mail in the middle of the night. I thought I was bad.
On the flip side, say the Sheraton folks, 84 percent of these professionals said the technology allows them to spend more time out of the office and enjoy more quality time and flexibility with their family and friends.
Mom — I don’t even own a Blackberry. Not yet.
But, as NPR’s Cameron points out, “this is so much bigger than the Blackberry…laptops, PSPs, cell phone, portable DVD players, iPods, all tend to make their way into the covers” (or under the sheets).
Just check out this New York Times story, “Laptop Slides Into Bed in Love Triangle,” as proof. And note that it was published in August 2006.
Send me your comments — do you spend more time with your technology than with your loved ones? Would love to hear your stories.