The term “always online” describes the idea that we’re online all the time and never log off. This could be literally (sleep is for chumps anyway!) or figuratively (i.e. never logging off). In my experience, I’m more figuratively “always online” but during periods last year, my sleep patterns were messed up thanks to the allure of the internet.
Cory Etzkorn examined a visual representation of that phenomenon: The Little Green Dot and its meaning in our online lives:
The Little Green Dot is a leash. It is a surrogate for trust and thrives in low-trust environments.
The Little Green Dot is anxiety. It is there to remind us that we’re not working as hard or as long or as consistently as others. Presence favors those who can effectively sit in a chair all day, not those brave enough to step away for a walk and take some time to think.
But the reality is that The Little Green Dot also has real utility. When something important breaks, we need to see who is online to fix it. When we have a pressing question, we need to know who is available to answer it.
And so The Little Green Dot persists, despised, but understood.
Etzkorn’s final line asks whether humans should be “always-online” or whether a semi online existence would be more beneficial. I like the latter even though I’m closer to the former. I work in digital marketing so onlineness is important but I also blog and that requires research and Wikipedia rabbit holes. There’s no let-up unless I make it so. We should all learn to log off once in a while.