Saturday, 23 January 2016

ringxiety or push-notification

I don’t often keep my mobile device in such close proximity to my person so as to make it an extension of my senses (say, something akin to an artist’s paint brush or a seeing impaired person’s walking stick), but sometimes when I am marching along with my phone in my bag, I’ll get false alarms that cause me to pause and check, only to find it was in my imagination.
This happens especially I think when I’m anxiously expecting a call, and I always feel a bit silly. I knew I was not quite alone in suffering from this phenomenon but had no idea that it was common enough to earn a forum, clinical studies and even a name: Phantom Vibration Syndrome. Researchers are not quite sure what causes these ghostly cues but most believe they are harmless, tiny muscle spasms that would otherwise go unnoticed (perhaps like a nascent version of Restless Leg Syndrome, which apparently becomes insufferable for some people and dreaming, twitchy dogs) that are at an amplitude sympathetic to the subsonic silent mode of our phones. Such prompts also indulge our sense of separation anxiety as these same calls and responses are our social towropes that connect us to the wider world. What do you think? Have you been haunted by phantom vibrations?