Holiday Break is here and with break comes spending time with family and friends. While I’ve written in the past about being “hyper-connected, sometimes to a fault,” my ultimate goal during break is to unplug for a while and find a balance between being connected on social media and spending time with my family. While I realize that these two options are not necessarily mutually exclusive, I still struggle to balance being “on” social media and being “off” with my family. It is with this in mind that I recommend an iPhone application and 3 reasons why iLove Boxcar.
1. Instant Push Notifications
Boxcar offers instant push notifications for Facebook, Twitter, email, RSS, Google Buzz, Reddit, Foursquare, Gowalla, among others. I’m able to receive fast notifications when someone comments, @mentions, emails, or messages me. Boxcar also saves me time because instead of checking multiple Apps on my iPhone I can check Boxcar’s All Messages stream and get an instant update on my social media life. While Boxcar might seem counter-productive to the goal of unplugging, I’ve found that I check my phone less because I know that when someone connects with me I will be updated quickly.
2. Quiet Time
My favorite feature of Boxcar is a setting called Quiet Time. Quite Time allows my to specify the time that I do not want to receive updates from my social networks. This feature has been invaluable to helping me balance my connected and unconnected time. I set my Quiet Time from about 5pm to 9pm on Weekdays, which covers family dinners and bedtime with the kids. Quiet Time allows me to focus on what is really important in my life and to not be distracted during that time.
Boxcar is free – plain and simple. All you need is an iPhone and you can download Boxcar and begin using immediately.
It might seem odd that I’ve found a piece of technology to help me manage the balance between being connected and not connected. All I can say is thank you Boxcar! Keep up the good work (…and maybe add LinkedIn support in the near future.)
I’m not aware of a similar App in the Android Store but if you are please comment in the section below.