Coming Soon, An Addiction Near You

If you are like me, you most likely spend your days in the office skipping from meeting-to-meeting, conference call-to-conference call, offsite meeting-to-offsite meeting, or airport-to-airport. Are you the type that goes through airport security with ease, taking your laptop out of its case, your mobile phone off your hip, your PDA or some other device out of your pocket, and carefully assembling them in the proper grey bins prior to walking through the scanner?

If so, are you aware it's been said folks like us may have a compulsive disorder? (As if the online space hasn't given us enough of a rollercoaster ride already.) Oh sure, a doctor in London named Mark Collins of the Priory clinic seems to think so. He has gained worldwide popularity by stating patients in his addiction clinic are hooked on cell phones. In fact, several patients have been found to spend up to seven hours per day on phones text messaging or in chat rooms. Know anyone like that?

You may have seen the article The New York Times a while back published headlined "The Lure of Data: Is it Addictive?" To sum it up, we the business class are guilty of compulsive multitasking. Don't belive me? What are you doing now? You most likely have other windows open, you are talking to some one be it mobile or desk phone, or maybe even via instant messaging. I doubt you are wholeheartedly dedicated to reading this article while doing nothing else. Why would you? How could you?



Let's face it, the Internet and telecom companies have made this an open playground for us. We all know what a "crackberry" is. Dr. Collins snubs those of us who look down at drug addicts and asks why compulsive "texting" is any better?

I recently read on Wired news (, that Virgin mobile has published a PDF on practicing "safe text." Gotta love the British humor. The safety guide has been developed with experts from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and Repetitive Strain Injury Association.

Latest figures show more than 45 million text messages a day are sent in the UK, a 55% increase within three years. Experts fear text message fans, like computer users, could be risking injury.

On average, consumers are sending about 8 text messages per day or 250 per month. Data is the hot revenue driver for telecom accounts out there. As advertisers, we struggle to come up with new innovative ideas of drive to Web by drive to phone, online polling, or advergaming. But jeez, I never thought one of my campaigns could be harmful to someone's health (chuckle). So I'll leave you with Virgin Mobile's Top 10 Safe Text Tips (and that might make you smile):

  1. Don't text and drive - this is extremely dangerous for both you and other motorists and pedestrians.
  2. When tipsy don't text an ex - you'll soon find that mixing text with four glasses of champers and a shot of 'I miss my ex' is a lethal cocktail... hic
  3. When tipsy don't text your boss - this is probably not the best time to ask for a pay raise...unless of course you're dating them.
  4. Do check your messages after predictive text - you'd be surprised how many words can easily be misspelled.
  5. Always leave yourself plenty of time to text - hurriedly sending a saucy message to your dad instead of your boyfriend or girlfriend could be very embarrassing.
  6. Check out how au fait your textee is with text - otherwise the message might just as well be in hieroglyphics.
  7. Don't text while walking down the street - unless of course you like fighting with lampposts.
  8. Double check who you're texting - hitting the send button too quickly could leave you with more than just egg on your face.
  9. Try group text - hooking up with friends later? Give your thumb a rest and send your friends a group text.
  10. Stretch well before texting - if you're a text maniac make sure you warm up beforehand to improve your text drive
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