Do You Listen To Nothing?

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When you enter a bathroom cubicle you turn the latch to occupied right?. When you are in a hotel-room and you don’t want to be bothered you hang up the “Do not Disturb” sign sure? But what happens if you are in a room filled with people and noisy distractions that are competing for your attention? How do you show people you are not available for interruptions, conversations about last night’s TV or everyday office chit chat?

According to an article on The New York Times by Lindsay Mannering headphones are already the go-to object for most of us to signal when we are not available for conversation:

When we wear headphones, it is a signal to everyone that we’re shut off, unavailable and, much like napping adults, absolutely not to be bothered. Our ear shields are barriers against barbaric city attacks like catcalls, construction or unwanted conversation from a friendly co-worker who just has, like, a super quick question “if you just have two seconds.”

I have to admit, and so do a few people from our own office, it’s something we increasingly do on a daily basis to zone out or zone in when we need to concentrate. I also have to confess that I bought gigantic purple headphones to make it as obvious as possible!

Even on the street the same rule increasingly applies: I am walking with no music on and if anyones asks me for the time I just keep walking knowing that i wont look that bad, after all I am wearing headphones. Am I alone?

A feeling that is very well expressed on this excerpt from the article:

We’re commuting, running errands and running departments under the polite assumption that no one knows our secret (and apologies to anyone this is outing): the headphones are on, but nothing’s playing. Bye bye, “This American Life.” The podcasts and the music have died, and this’ll be the day that we acknowledge the lie.

Do you think the author is exaggerating? Have you ever used your headphones to get out of a conversation? Do you wear your headphones without anything playing? Does this signal work for you? Why are we so desperate for this kind of social shield?

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
(Este post foi retirado do nosso blog Designing Deeper)