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August 11, 2015updated 17 Oct 2016 11:55am

Time to switch off?

By Guy Clapperton

This is a good week. I have started to claim my life back. “Software defined” may be a big thing but it doesn’t have to define people.

Let me explain. Like a lot of the technology press, I’m fairly wedded to social media. It’s great for being found by readers, for connecting with colleagues and friends. Except…it can take over. And one of the ways in which it can take over is by taking your time not only with new messages but with notifications.

And of course all the apps set themselves up to send notifications by default. And that’s bad news because, as this study says, receiving the notification is as distracting as dealing with the message it’s highlighting. That’s right. If you receive 20 Facebook messages in a day, and that might not be a high number if you’re reasonably active on it, even just marketing your business – and have notifications turned on, your productivity will be as diluted as if you’d had 40 to the things. Multiply that by Twitter and add the amount of LinkedIn updates you first thought of and you can see that it’s quite a drain.

So I’ve switched them off. Clever apps, the off switch takes a bit of finding but it’s there. Now if I want to know what I need to be doing I switch Wunderlist on rather than have it pop up unbidden. If I want to look at Facebook I go and look rather than have it elbow its way to my attention. And if I want to check Google Plus…actually that’s a bit rarer, but never mind.

Software defined systems can change our technology for the better. However, start to allow software to define your own behaviour and you’re into another area entirely.

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