I had read this piece recently where I discovered a new term “micro-boredom”. Its is basically about extremely small slices of life where one is ‘bored’ or has nothing to do. The article also goes on to talk about how technology provides a much needed escape route from micro-boredom, by filling in those small slices. If you think of it, a mobile phone offers you the privacy equivalent of being in a locked room. There is just very little distance between you and the screen of the phone to allow for intrusion. I have always thought that Indian youth are just so hooked on to their cell phones (always checking SMS, checking for missed calls, doing ‘nothing’ with the phone in a CCD) because of the sheer absence of privacy and personal space in our ‘other’ social life. Personal space is now the screen.
I have my own bouts of micro-boredom and when I think of it, I love the way various companies are tapping into my ‘nothing-to-do’ space. And, it’s far from being intrusive, but is actually quite helpful at times.
I use a Nokia E62 with Symbian O/S. It helps me check my company’s emails (MS-Exchange) with Mail for Exchange and sync my phone calendar/tasks/contacts to my Outlook. Google went on to create a suite of service for the hand phone. So, I can check my Gmail, add reminders to the calendar, watch Youtube videos suited for mobile phones, catch up on Google News, check out my Google Docs and catch up with my favourite feeds using Google Reader. They even created a handy application for Google Maps, which you can download to your cell phone. It is really useful – so when I have to find out where my hotel is located in Mumbai, I know where to look for it! Then, somebody realized that there has to be a better way to browse the net on a small screen and we got Opera Mini. Ideal for browsing, Opera Mini optimizes the internet for your cell phone. I use it to update my Twitter status; send private messages over Jaiku and connect with people on LinkedIn. It also has a feed aggregator and easy management of favourites. Yahoo Go puts in a host of Yahoo services in your palms – push email, weather updates, news, calendar and of course, Flickr. I browse through my albums, catch up on old times and share a laugh with myself at times. Then there is WidSets. It allows me to add tons of widgets to my application window – Twitter, Gmail, Jaiku, Feed Reader, Weather, Sudoku and tons of other time-killing games. I also micro-blog at Tumblr. So, you have this cool application called Tumbla, which lets you post text, quotes and pictures to Tumblr. In the evening, when I get a message that I need to be in Delhi for an urgent client meeting, I use applications from Jet Airways and Yatra.com to book my flight tickets on the go. Did I mention that I like to track the stock markets? I use Markets on Mobile from Moneycontrol to get updtes on my portfolio and the markets in general. Sometimes, when I get up in the night, I even use it to see how the US markets are doing! Whenever I feel the urge to chat up with a friend, I log onto my Gtalk / Yahoo Messenger. There are tons of options for this like Talkonaut, Morange among others. Though multiplex movie tickets are pretty steep these days, whenever I feel like I use the application from Book My Show to book movie tickets. What’s more, it even allows me to choose the seats of my preference. Oh yes! I swear I use my phone to talk as well.
So the other day, someone asked me “Don’t you get bored staying by yourself?” Nah! No way! Micro-boredom has evaporated into thin air! My phone is my saviour – my very own, personal Jesus Christ.
Salvation lies in your hands!