Alvin In The Room: Journal

Airplane mode is not only to save but gain

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On the phone there is a function called ‘airplane mode’ with an plane icon that will turn off all the internet and telephone signals. Usually people tell you to turn airplane mode on as one of the battery saving tips, and during the flight to prevent signals from interrupting the plane you are taking. This icon seems to be reducing and even preventing risks that can affect us (no battery, flight accident), but I realize that it does gain more than save.

Living in the smartphone age, we are now connecting to each other 24 hours a day, nonstop. The WiFi, 3G/LTE, bluetooth, handoff and airdrops etc. are all on. Notifications can be received anywhere and anytime. We have to check messages and news. Instead of focusing on our tasks and our dreams, we are always reminded, and even trained to check messages and news all the time. As a result, we forget what is the most important at that moment, and most of the time we are online.

I always ask myself if I need to be open and connected all the time, as I find that I can be exhausted after receiving so much information and checking new messages frequently. When new messages and feeds come, I really enjoy responding and reading it, resulting in losing time. When there are no messages, I can feel disappointed. Being online all the time is like when I am trapped in a room full of people you know.

While it’s enjoyable with others in a room, people still need to leave at least for a while for their own sake, especially for introverts who need to be being alone to regain energy. My situation is that I need to breathe, to find a place of solitude. Keeping mobile data on is of no difference when staying in a small room with the same people all the time.

An airplane mode is a ritual that when I turn on, I leave the room; when I turn off, hey I am back! Not only the battery can be saved, but also that most of my time can be better spent on what are important on me, rather than on Facebook and WhatsApp. Through the ritual of on and off, I can decide when to be on and off.

If you think telephone signal is still necessary, especially in case when your parents call you. Turning off ‘mobile data’ in settings can block all the social media, emails and messages in the period you demand for tranquility.

Some people can control themselves, but some people can’t. I am the one who really need a design to protect me from distraction. Sadly, convenience is usually the king of smartphone design. Designers claim that with that function you can be effortless on this and take so your time can be saved, but it is always the opposite as those products can make us obsessed into them, wasting a lot of time and energy after a long period. That’s why I urge for the design for avoiding distraction rather than convenience, like popping up notifications twice a day instead of immediately. Tristan Harris in TED invited us, as consumers, to call technology giants to protect us from distraction.

在手機裡有一個叫「飛行模式」的功能,能一鍵把所有通訊都關掉。一般來說,在飛行中或是看到電量掉很快所以要使用它,飛行模式似乎用來避免一些我們不想看到的事情,如發生意外或是電池用盡,不過我也看到除了節省以留下資源,還有一些得著。

在智能手機、或是智慧型手機流行的年代,WiFi、3G/LTE、藍芽等一般24小時不停開著,目的在於即時接收訊息和資訊不要錯過。手機上的通知,往往總是提醒甚至訓練我們去不時打開它去查閱新聞,於是大部分時間都花在這裡,而不是專注在我們更重要的事項或夢想上。

我常問自己,是否一定要無時無刻開上網訊號以保持與外界的聯繫?因為我會發覺,當接收大量訊息後,我會感到疲累。而有新的訊息,我當然會享受溝通和閱讀過程中,但畢竟會厭倦,時間也會溜走。當沒有訊息其實也會失望。常常處於在線的狀態,就像整天和我認識的人,困在同一個房間裡。

即使享受與人相處的時光,人們都有需要抽離的時候,尤其為內向的人來說,他們需要獨處來重新獲取能量。而我的處境是,在房間太久,都需要呼吸新鮮空氣。

飛行模式就像是一種「離開房間」的「儀式」:開啟,離開房間;關掉,我回來了!不只省掉電力,也留下很多時間來完成我認為比較重要的時間,而不是Facebook、WhatsApp中。在這個開關儀式中,我可以自主的選擇。

如果你只是需要一定程度的閉關,如讓家人有需要時致電給自己,那麼只要關掉上網訊號,而不需要飛行模式把所有通訊都截斷。在有需要的時候,關掉Facebook、WhatsApp等即可。

有些人當然不需要什麼設計或工具就能控制自己,但也有些人不能。我是一個十分需要不讓我分心的設計的人,但很可惜,「便利」已經主導了設計,很多設計都只是為了省時省力,結果就因如此,用多了,時間浪費了,精力不知不覺耗掉了,所以我一直希望將來的設計,與其為了方便,倒不如從避免分心上著手。Tristan Harris在TED演講中,帶領作為消費者的我們,要求科技生產商去回應我們的訴求:從設計去減低分心的機會。

(Written on iA Writer app which designs for focus on my own.)

(在一個避免分心的app:iA Writer上寫這篇文章。)

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