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Do you have online compulsive disorder?

A great article in tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times by Matt Richtel on the insanity of the our always on culture.

Some people who are persistently wired say it is not uncommon for them to be sitting in a meeting and using a hand-held device to exchange instant messages surreptitiously ˜ with someone in the same meeting. Others may be sitting at a desk and engaging in conversation on two phones, one at each ear. At social events, or in the grandstand at their children’s soccer games, they read news feeds on mobile devices instead of chatting with actual human beings. These speed demons say they will fall behind if they disconnect, but they also acknowledge feeling something much more powerful: they are compulsively drawn to the constant stimulation provided by incoming data. Call it O.C.D. ˜ online compulsive disorder.

“It’s magnetic,” said Edward M. Hallowell, a psychiatry instructor at Harvard. “It’s like a tar baby: the more you touch it, the more you have to.”

I remember how totally addicted I got to my Blackberry over the course of more than two years of constant use. A year ago, coming back from vacation in Norway, I just didn’t pick it back up again. It’s still sitting on my desk.

One can be too well connected — and the Blackberry put me over my personal edge!

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