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'Pushback': Resisting the Life of Constant Connectivity 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-don't-care-what-you-had-for-breakfast dept.
vinces99 writes "Researchers at the University of Washington have studied and named a trend lots of people can identify with: the desire to resist constant connectivity and step back from the online world. They call it 'pushback.' The researchers looked closely at instances of pushback against technology, reviewing 73 sources divided equally among three areas of online expression: personal blogs and websites, popular media sources and academic conferences and journals. Co-author Ricardo Gomez said they thought they'd find frustration with devices, costs or learning new technologies as key pushback motivations. Instead, the reasons were more emotionally based, with 'dissatisfaction' — the thought that users' needs are not really being met by technology — most often expressed, followed by political, religious or moral concerns. Other motivations were the wish to regain control of time and energy and fear of addiction to the technology. Among the least-often reported objections were worries about loss of privacy."
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'Pushback': Resisting the Life of Constant Connectivity

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  • Hopefully 'pushback' starts more so behind the wheel of a car.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Last post!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These people have something to hide. We should plant bugs in their houses and track their locations.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I call it 'get a life'

  • by pinguwin (807635) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @08:37AM (#45199401)
    I didn't have a phone for 13 years, land or cell, and only got one when I had a severe injury that left me bedridden for a few months. I got a pre-paid dumb phone that I still have but leave it off 95% of the time and usually don't carry it. I just want a period of time where I'm not staring at an LCD device, lord knows I stare at the screen too much as it is. What I will sometimes do in the summer is have a "technology-free" weekend I know that everything is a technology of sorts but let's go with that term. From Friday afternoon until Monday morning, nothing electric will be used. No lights, no food from the fridge, no cars. I read books by candlelight, eat fruit/raw veggies/nuts/bread, ride my bike, take walks, if the phone rings...let it ring (no one is going to need an emergency kidney transplant). It's really quite relaxing just to disconnect from it even if you're surrounded by it all in a city. Somehow, you survive being disconnected and it really is a refreshing change to "pushback"
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by cheekyboy (598084)

      Sounds utterly boring, unless your utterly stonned and with a few hotties naked all weekend.

      Even then you want lights, music, and ability to dial a pizza to be delivered.

      Living like the 18th century , no thanks, im not armish.

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Somehow, you survive being disconnected and it really is a refreshing change to "pushback"

      I get disconnected when I'm scuba diving. I'd be ready to pay quite a sum to not be disconnected one of the few moments in my life where being stuck for half an hour could kill me.

      I'd rather be physically connected at all times. I can use my own brain to disconnect if I want/need to.

    • I do a similar thing on weekends now and then. I go camping.
    • I too was one of the early cell phone users, but didn't use a phone for about 14 years, because it kept interrupting life.

      Only got the iPhone 5 after getting an iPad 2 (did do some alpha and beta tests, but never wanted to buy before).

      My favorite settings are:

      1. Airplane Mode
      2. Leave downstairs recharging turned off

      Generally only use it when I go out where I might meet people, or during an event, but mostly the tools are off.

      Tools are just that: Tools.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @08:40AM (#45199417)

    Pushback starts by not reading Slashdot.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @08:41AM (#45199423) Homepage

    The real cost of this is people who allow constant connectivity to take over their whole lives. The most obvious example I can think of right now is the mainstream media, which fell in love with Twitter a long time ago. It shapes their thoughts and they can't even think any more without applying a hashtag. The idea that there might be a world beyond is a foreign, strange idea.

    Others stay glued to their phones and computers all day long and blithely use slang and jargon from whatever site they use most frequently in public. Nobody else can understand them, they can't figure out that it only makes sense in context. Nope, the whole world uses that slang, and if you don't understand, then how can you really be a person?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Others stay glued to their phones and computers all day long and blithely use slang and jargon from whatever site they use most frequently in public. Nobody else can understand them, they can't figure out that it only makes sense in context. Nope, the whole world uses that slang, and if you don't understand, then how can you really be a person?

      It's called a "dialect". We've been having this "problem" for hundreds of years now, people who live in a particular geographic area modify or create their own phrases and words to better describe the things that are most important to them in their community. It's why Americans have trouble understanding English colloquialisms and vice versa.

      The thing that is new and interesting is that dialects are now forming in virtual locations as well as the traditional physical ones. This has created a large number of

      • Acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations have long been widely used and accepted in English. However, bad spelling, punctuation and capitalization do not a dialect make.

        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          bad spelling...[does] not a dialect make.

          Yeah, the Brits have been saying that about "American English" for years! ;)

    • mainstream media, which fell in love with Twitter a long time ago

      Twitter is the ultimate in vapid communication. If there is a difference between a tweet and a brain fart, I don't know what it is. I've never used Twitter, any more than I've ever looked at Facebook.

      From a business point of view though, it's clearly a handicap that I can't imagine anybody ever wanting something like this.

      Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

      -- H. L. Mencken

  • by diacopo (462680) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @08:46AM (#45199467)

    I see no reason to chase the mystery trend any more now than I did when I started working with computers in 1962.
    It is not "technology," nor is it being a "luddite;" it is just being sensible about your life.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @08:49AM (#45199491) Homepage
    consumer choice, the active and willful decision to use or not to use a specific product or service, or even none at all, is what its called. To brand it as 'pushback' is condescending and offensive as it implies im somehow inappropriately stubborn, or creating an inconvenience or disservice to others in the pursuit of things like consumer capitalism.

    Speaking as a member of the 'pushback' community, If you'd like to use facebook, gmail, google plus, and twitter, by all means do so. If the only way you can start your day is with a fresh stream of "news" from the blogosphere, or an instagram of your cat, then I've nothing for which to lambast you. The internet is an open technology and as such everyones entitled to use it differently as they see fit, or not use part or all of it at all. Extend to me a likewise courtesy though, and dont bitch piss and moan when I cant be found on linkedin or your favourite social spheres. Give me a call, or a text, or an email, or come right over some time and hang out. if its too grand an inconvenience to leave the laptop though, we need to reconsider our relationship.

    Why as a "pushback" troglodite am i refusing your utopia? Because its offered at the price of my freedom, which isnt for sale. Its alabaster wall is a prison in which the inmates scrawl their wishes and dreams, announce their likes and disklikes, and pass the time with games and witty reparte while a recumbent warden looks on intently. Constant connectivity is its chain gang. misery is the road it paves alongside the convicted who shall be Sentenced to a lifetime of free trials, free updates, introductory offers, limited events, and great deals.
    • "Its alabaster wall is a prison in which the inmates scrawl their wishes and dreams, announce their likes and disklikes, and pass the time with games and witty reparte while a recumbent warden looks on intently."

      It's called a "timeline" now. Get it right.

      • "Its alabaster wall is a prison in which the inmates scrawl their wishes and dreams, announce their likes and disklikes, and pass the time with games and witty reparte while a recumbent warden looks on intently."

        It's called a "timeline" now. Get it right.

        No no, I think he just described slashdot!

    • by Kjella (173770)

      To brand it as 'pushback' is condescending and offensive as it implies im somehow inappropriately stubborn, or creating an inconvenience or disservice to others in the pursuit of things like consumer capitalism.

      Among the people who are hooked on social media, all of the above. At least in my little corner of the world Facebook has become the de facto way to tell your friends what's happening or what you're doing, I've heard many times now "Well, I/he/she/they posted it on Facebook..." and implying that if you're not there, not reading their Facebook feed perhaps you don't care about your friends. Likewise, nobody expects to have a conversation to know the news anymore they expect it to come delivered to them in th

      • The reason it is easily confused with arrogance might have something to do with:

        Among the people who are hooked on social media, all of the above

        Likewise, nobody expects to have a conversation to know the news anymore they expect it to come delivered to them in their Facebook stream.

        Either way there's a huge amount of peer pressure and if I was younger and more impressionable ...

        The fact that you look down upon people as lazy and having less mental fortitude than you because you refuse to use facebook is pretty arrogant. Demanding your friends jump through hoops to keep you in the loop is arrogant (amoung a few other things). That you view people that use facebook as impressionable or someway less than you is arrogant.

        Heaven forbid people want a convenient place to bring together their interpersonal r

        • by doom (14564)

          That you view people that use facebook as impressionable or someway less than you is arrogant.

          And your own radiant humility is a thing of joy. Thank you for sharing it with us.

          But it's the latest thing! Everyone knows it's the latest thing! How can you dare to diss the latest thing! You're insulting my tribe, you're attacking my core beliefs! How can such mean, recalcitrant people be allowed to exist! Why can't everyone be reasonable like me?

          • I'm not sure I follow your ramblings but you seem to be insinuating that pointing out arrogance is arrogant or somehow lacking in humility. Is that correct? Parent poster seemed confused as to why people might find their views arrogant. I pointed out why- it's because they are arrogant.

            That last bit is very confusing. Am I to take you that you believe I follow your parody? Because I would point out that many people enjoy centralised social interaction like church, mall, pub, school, facebook, etc. and

  • wow...about 9 months ago after a particularly inane SN issue, I realized that this shit has gone from being interesting and useful to being mindless and high-schooly...in fact it all seems pretty much like an lifelong extension of high school nowadays.

    I had no real clue that I wasn't basically the only one who was experiencing this, much less that the phenomenon has been labeled and studied already.

    FTA..." Instead, the reasons were more emotionally based, with “dissatisfaction” — the thoug

  • The Forgotten User (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sdinfoserv (1793266) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @09:13AM (#45199687) Homepage
    Much of the new technology, especially when discussing the internet, is no longer about the user - at least, it's not about doing something for our on line experience. Current technology trends are about user data, not the user. More precisely, how the company can harvest and profit from user data. As facebook changes its policies weekly to sell more and more of you there by reducing your privacy, Zuckerberg buys houses around his property to give himself more privacy. The browser in IOs7 removed the URL direct entry and everything is now a recorded search. By doing so attempting to track your intent (and sell it) rather than allow you to do it yourself. I believe in profit and capitalism. However, what happened to actually caring about someone else? gone. You think that paparazzi today would respect FDR and not take or publish pictures of him in a wheel chair or falling down? Nope. Those scum would be hiding in the bushing looking for the golden shot of the President falling. That's the core of push back.
    • by doom (14564)

      Much of the new technology, especially when discussing the internet, is no longer about the user

      Indeed, in fact The Trend is to make sure the user knows that they're Owned.

      I feel like that every time I start up Firefox and it wants to "check my addons" (it invariably disables at least one, unasked), and everytime I try to check on the status of a downlaod and find that the behavior of my browser has silently changed -- I needed to read slashdot to find out they were going to make it harder to shut of

  • by plopez (54068) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @09:20AM (#45199761) Journal

    It was nice, 5 days of no interruptions and the feeling i was back in charge of my life. I also try to vacation in places where there is no coverage ergo no intrusions. If cell phones wouldn't be so useful for emergencies and job searches I would ditch them in a minute.

  • by TigerPlish (174064) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @09:35AM (#45199901)

    I'll open by repeating what others have said: this isn't being a Luddite, not by any means. If there's a tech toy / tool that makes my life easier, I'm all for it, whether it be physical goods or software.

    But, similar to the "i love me" websites of the early days of the web, Twitter and Facebook, to me, are just another kind of dancing cat / hamster / chilli pepper: Utterly superfluous. I actively reject them, I have no FB or TW account. I don't want to know what my friends are doing 24x7. I don't want the world to know that I just had six blonde Oreos and two cups of non-name-brand non-trendy coffee that is still awesome due to careful preparation.

    I'm sure this view is incomprehensible to some. To them I say: It's ok to sell yourself, if you don't mind being treated like a whore -- kept around only as long as you have value to the people "giving" you the serivce for "free." Myself, I'll make "them" work for their money: If you want my $, then you should make things that interest me. I'll hear about them, ads or no ads.

    But to those making targeting decisions / algorithms with data obtained from my mere mousing around, I say "fuck off." I took off your logo'd t-shirts and polo shirts a decade ago. I stopped listening to your drivel on TV a decade ago. I block ads and do a few other interesting things, just so I don't have to see / hear your unrelenting patter.

    Maybe y'all should look at it from that point of view: To them, your body is a billboard to display their ads, you are data, not a person. Deny them the use of your body, deny them the use of your data. Most everytime you click somewhere you just either made someone a fraction of a penny, or gave data to someone who will eventually make a mint aggregating your data to a massive data mine from which they "target" ads (or lately, as it turns out, "target" people directly)

    Resistance to always-on isn't being a luddite, it's about being yourself, and keeping that self as private as possible. It's about not being a slave to the phone, but having the phone as a toy / tool: there for your use or amusement, not the other way 'round.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Resistance isn't just being a luddite, it is managing the technology, and not having it manage you. It is 100% healthy for the phone to be powered off at times.

      It is an addiction for some. When RV-ing, a RV park could be perfect in every way, but if they don't have a good Wi-Fi signal, they get one-starred. Sometimes it is good to leave the devices in the car and actually do something that doesn't consist of using a computer HID, be it a touch screen, mouse, keyboard, or Siri.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aoMONETl.com minus painter> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:17AM (#45200307) Journal

    My wife and I set aside several hours every day as "zero-technology" times. We use this time to read, play with our dogs, have meals together, work on hobbies, and hang out with friends and neighbors.

    Everything gets powered down - no phones ringing, no "notification" sounds, no nothing. It's pretty amazing how it feels to be disconnected - like the old days before constant connection invaded and took over society.

    The most annoying part are the phone calls about "OMG where have you been!?!?!?" that inevitably come after things get turned back on.

  • For me, information, learning, and technology are hobbies. I guess people have different hobbies that don't involve gadgets, which is fine. I was into gadgets long before most; it just seems like smart phones brought technology to more people. Eventually the trend will shift to something else.
  • by sootman (158191)

    So you're saying "Everything in moderation"? Gee, let me write that down somewhere...

  • How some people get anything done, I know several people I can't have a 5 minute conversation with them with out there phone chirping, and that chirp, it's like Pavlov's bell, or perhaps a Pavlovian Gong be cause *nothing* is more important than the phone.

    The worst part of this is when my phone chirps in the car I have this immediate desire to answer right then, really took me a while to learn how to just relax and wait.
    It's odd but sometimes people that are always on their phones seem like the phones bitch

  • The part about feeling a loss of "connection" in the article intrigued me. I've been struggling to understand the underlying cause behind behavior like demanding organic food over GMO's, urban chicken farming, environmentalism, being a boho, etc. To me, the term "pushback" could be applied to all the environmentalist/vegetarian-vegan/bicycle culture/anti-GMO/anti-globalism movements. Every cause that pushes back against modern society, but why? What is the underlying cause of that kind of rebellion? What if

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a crunchy granola type, let me help you.

      Organic food tends to be a (sometimes mistaken) attempt to eat healthier. Bike culture, at least the dominant strain that I see, tends to be about sustainability, health, convenience and/or cost. Environmentalism tends to stem from concerns about sustainability or preserving what we have. Anti-GMO tends to stem from distrust of science or of big corp. Vegetarian/vegan tends to be people who like animals too much to eat them (with some "health" vegs also existin

  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:34AM (#45201271)

    ... pushing back against connectivity for years. I have AT&T.

  • -- I don't like to be leashed. I don't even like my cell phone. I find calling someone on a phone to be very demanding. When I hear the phone ring, I hear "TALK TO ME, TALK TO ME!" which would be appropriate if it extremely important to do so, but it rarely is. I prefer a text message to which I can respond when the time is appropriate or an email through which I can convey well-thought-out messages.

    -- I am not an exhibitionist. I value my privacy and, more accurately, the intimacy of being able to be vulne

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      -- I don't like to be leashed. I don't even like my cell phone. I find calling someone on a phone to be very demanding. When I hear the phone ring, I hear "TALK TO ME, TALK TO ME!" which would be appropriate if it extremely important to do so, but it rarely is. I prefer a text message to which I can respond when the time is appropriate or an email through which I can convey well-thought-out messages.

      A lot of people agree with you there. I'm 23 and in the past year I think there's probably only been one person my age or younger that I talked to on the phone -- that being my (now ex) girlfriend. People older than me though seem to much prefer phone calls. I think they're the single most obnoxious communication method.

      -- I don't like the focus of the smartphone. The smartphone, in my opinion, should be first and foremost a phone. With the billions of dollars put into R&D and infrastructure, one would think that a cell phone call would be at least as clear as talking on an intercom... but that's far from the case. Instead, cellular voice tech has taken back seat to video media quality so that you can watch really high quality Netflix videos in your palm, but you can't talk to someone in the same confidence of communication that could by using a 40-year old telephone.

      Anything that discourages voice calls is AWESOME as far as I'm concerned!

      -- I am not a voyeur. I am not particularly interested by the day-to-day happenings of people. I usually don't care about what you ate for lunch unless you've eaten for a week at a restaurant that's new to you and you think that I would personally enjoy eating at the same place. And if that's the case, send me a message-- don't tag me on your Facebook wall so that I have to visit the shrine you've built to your exhibitionist self.

      As you have discovered, social networking sites are only as good as your social network. If the content is crap, it p

  • It's not a push back against tech, but a push toward living in the moment. I've got plenty of technology, wouldn't want to live without it. There's such a thing as being overstimulated though, and also being too distracted. I reserve certain times for going online (i.e. whenever I want) but I'm not looking stuff up on Wikipedia and imdb every 5 minutes either, and when I put my tablet down I don't have notifitions on so it doesn't keep calling me after I decided I was done with it. I don't get texts but
  • I routinely turn off my gadgets when I'm spending time with my family. I don't want to be distracted during the small amount of time my work schedule allows me to focus on non-work life. When I'm with my family, the only people who legitimately need to be able to reach me in an emergency are right there with me.

  • I had my iPhone on Airplane mode so nobody would bug me while I was studying. ... now, what were you saying?

  • Does it count that I still rock a katana flip phone (much to the annoyance of my carrier)? I mean that seems to cut down on the majority of bloops and beeps when I am not on a PC.. I think I am pushing back!

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