Every weekday at 6:15 AM, I enter the new downtown Denver high rise located at 1900 16th street to get to my office and begin my workday. Usually, the security guard stationed in the lobby lifts his gaze for just a moment to smile, acknowledge my presence, and then turn his attention back to his phone. I've never asked, but I'm highly curious. What does he do on his phone during his entire 8-hour shift? Is he Snapchatting? Texting? Taking a Udemy class? Catching up on news? I can't help but think about the sheer variety of outcomes that can result from the choices made with the combination of a smartphone, internet access, and huge blocks of nearly uninterrupted time.
The type A, learner/achiever archetype within me can't help but feel a twinge of jealousy. As the COO of a growing start-up and a father to a two and a half-year-old child, I crave those blocks of time to explore the world. It's an overused analogy, but life truly is a classroom and the Internet is an infinite curriculum of opportunity. The post web 2.0 world is a place where I am never bored and always highly engaged, learning as much as I can before my body forces me to sleep.
Unfortunately, the Internet allows to endlessly distract ourselves, the modern day equivalent of doodling or passing handwritten notes in a classroom. Call it escapism. Call it truancy 2.0, the desire to not show up and/or engage with the new social, business, entertainment, and educational opportunities that smartphones and ubiquitous internet access affords us.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: Chief Product Officer of DRUD Tech. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.