Sam Galet owns a BlackBerry, two laptops, two MP3 players and is an avid user of Facebook. He sometimes finds himself simultaneously monitoring work e-mail, watching a movie on his iPod, and rocking his baby to sleep.
He’s “hyperconnected” – a newly emerging term that’s used to describe a person who is constantly connected to the Internet. This blurring of the line between work and life is prevalent among men under the age of 35.
“My 16-month-old walks around with my BlackBerry, typing into it,” says Galet, a 34-year-old sales exec for IMG, a global sports and entertainment company. “When that happens, you know you’re doing something wrong.”
Another hint? He has arthritis in his thumbs, and must regularly massage them to reduce the pain he feels from constant typing.
But to Galet the pain is only a minor irritation when compared to the payoff.
“Technology facilitates being in touch with more people,” he says, adding that constant connectivity allows him to do business faster and better. His clients expect immediate response.
He’s never heard the word hyperconnected before, but thinks he qualifies.
“I’m a hyper person, so to be hyperconnected, I can see it. It makes sense. But I can definitely see the negative. My colleagues ask me if I’m like this at home, so engaged with the BlackBerry,” he says.
“My wife used to find it annoying, until she got one.”
Jennifer Galet, 31, begs to differ.
“I don’t know that it’s less annoying just because I have one,” she says with a laugh. “I can leave mine at home and go for a walk, but he always wants to have it. The thing that really bothers me is when he wants to check it (when he’s driving). From a safety perspective, that really scares me.”
Sam Galet is not alone. Gone are the days of any where, any time. Now it’s everywhere, all the time. In an IDC marketing research survey, 60 per cent of hyperconnected people reported they use technology in the car, 50 per cent use their devices while on vacation, 45 per cent use them in bed and 20 per cent use them in a place of worship.
Jennifer doesn’t think she’s hyperconnected, at least not compared to her husband. “We do have a laptop and I’m on it a fair bit on the Internet, but I’m not like Sam.
“We’ll be watching a show together and he’ll be on the computer and I wonder if he’s really paying attention. He’s reading the news, checking the sports pages and surfing for something.”
Galet says he knows when to ignore his BlackBerry – in client meetings, for example – but he admits his attention is sometimes divided.
“As I’m talking to you,” he said during a phone interview, “I’m scrolling down my BlackBerry.”
A “hyperconnected” life
Sam Galet owns a BlackBerry, two laptops, two MP3 players and is anavid user of Facebook. He sometimes finds himself simultaneouslymonitoring work e-mail, watching a movie on his iPod, and rocking hisbaby to sleep.