By Diego Nascimento*

Freedom! This is the word that sums up the 30 days I decided to stay away from WhatsApp, one of the most famous communication applications these days. Did you frown when you read the opening of this article? I’m saying this as a professional who works with messages, texts and also uses interaction as a tool. I chose to be the guinea pig in this controversial experiment. Stick with me and let’s dig deeper into my observations.

I have many contacts on my smartphone and without a doubt a huge part of this list is from WhatsApp. Every minute I get alerts that address the arrival of a question, maybe a warning, links, audios or videos. On the other hand, I know people and companies that make the application a customer service channel. In an age where instantaneousness has become routine, nothing beats a tool that sends messages in real time and for free. In my case, I use the App* to be in certain chat groups and share links of the texts I produce. But the mere fact of disconnecting my mind from this marvel of technology in the last few weeks has caused me to rethink this experience, and I would like to make a point of listing each of them to consider together. Get ready:

1.Headaches and posture: The incidence of sudden onset of headaches was almost zero. Discomforts at the base of my neck also decreased. They always popped up when I stayed for too long “looking down” to respond to all the demands coming from WhatsApp.

2.Time management: I was able to organize chapters to read, produce texts, projects and everyday tasks.

3.Real face time:  Without the “responsibility” of being glued to my cell to answer calls I was able to offer more face-to-face conversations with my family and friends.

4.Planning: As a result of the better time management, I was able to plan my daily activities much more carefully and without the agony of chasing after the notifications and needing to dive into the application.

Under no circumstances am I campaigning to abandon this app. Just so you know, I have begun using it again, a little at a time. I am already enjoying the benefits of this incredibly revolutionary form of communication. My experience allowed me to see that we cannot just pick back up our lives on the screen of a smartphone, tablet or computer. In that 30-day off-line journey I evaluated my departure from WhatsApp, but it could have been with any other software made available by competing companies. A case in point, when the government blocks the application in a matter of seconds a giant migration happens to other similar services. I think of this phenomenon as a result of the postmodern era, and if we look carefully, we have invented things to gain time, but, in fact, we are running out of this precious resource every day. I guarantee you that at some point you will say that 24 hours are not enough to do everything you need. So I ask you: Will a strategic analysis of your commitments show you an accumulation of tasks (and I know this is reality for some) or the misuse of time?

Here’s a controversial opinion for the 21st century: we have the privilege of witnessing and accessing the ease of technology, but we do not have the maturity to deal with so much innovation. It’s surprising how much we value the machine and forget to be human beings, no matter the age. My warning is not against the arrival of computerization, but about the way we receive and live with them. It’s a matter of priority. If you make use of this “new wave” for work, congratulations! Use and abuse what you can and minimize your costs and increase customer acquisition, but I recommend you set aside a time to live life. If you are in the group of those who get plugged in daily, wasting time reading, watching and listening to things that trivialize family values, watch out. I know clinics that in addition to receiving narcotic addicts take care of dependents of the web and this includes the more than abnormal use of tools linked to the internet. A quick search on Google will display journalistic material dealing with this subject on all continents, without exception.

I never hid my admiration for Biblical teachings. About three thousand years ago the great King Solomon, inspired by God, recorded that there is the right time for everything. This famous passage is in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1 through 8. It is a message so appropriate that I made use of it in other texts. I recommend the re-reading, reflection and practice.

Do you want to be a person that makes a difference in the lives of others? Understand that there is a world of opportunities that extrapolates the distance between your eyes and the screen of a cell phone. Anything in excess is bad. Think about it!

App *: Acronym for the word Application.

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