Monday, August 02, 2010

Technology owns me.

Technology owns me.

I often look back on those years prior to 1985 (when I got my first Macintosh) and think about how different life is now.

I made it through college without a computer.  Really?  I can barely make through a day without my computer.  Mom was excited about her electric typewriter, I had an English teacher in high school that insisted we hand in our typed papers with no errors - we couldn't even use white out.  I did a lot of extra typing in those days.

My cell phone is practically attached to my body, yet I can remember mom yelling at me because she thought that the wall phone was attached to my ear.  Even then, my friends were important to me and staying in contact was a desperate need.  I don't know how many LONG conversations occurred with various and sundry boys, but wow, those were obviously important conversations.  The only problem was, since we were living in the parsonage, a phone call that needed to reach Dad could be missed and that was very bad news.  So, it wasn't often I could spend an entire evening on the telephone.

Right now, I could find myself lamenting the fact that technology has made the world so much more intrusive.  It really has.  We don't part from our technology easily or for very long periods of time.  And when we do, we tend to make grandiose announcements about it.  I can't tell you the number of tweets and blogs I've read by people who are walking away from their technology for a period of time.  Now, that's a lamentable bit of information.  We don't feel confident enough to walk away from constantly updating the world as to our whereabouts and what we're doing without telling everyone.

While Dad was alive, he insisted that there be no possible way for people to reach us while we were at the cabin.  I'm afraid I might have given him a good turn in his grave when I installed the internet.  He was so adamant about it, that the guys who came out to run the fiber to the cabin described an old guy that refused to let them on the land.  Oh yah ... ummm ... that's my dad!!! 

His idea of the perfect vacation was to travel as far north as possible into Canada, find a beautiful campsite and stay for a couple of weeks.  No telephones, no television, nothing.  I read an awful lot of books during that vacation.

I like (treasure, yearn for, greatly desire) quiet.  HAH ... last week while I was traveling, I stopped at a Kum n Go for gas.  I went into the bathroom and it was packed with people.  There were several large groups of girls stopped there for some reason.  In the handicapped stall was a mom with her little girl - the girl was crying and screaming.  Girls styling their hair and makeup in the mirror, all jabbering.  I found myself in the stall trying to hide.  When the hand dryer turned on, I wanted to curl in a ball ... the noise was overwhelming!  I hurried out, got back into my car and kept driving.

But, along with my desire for quiet, comes my desire to stay connected with my friends and family.  I can't imagine not having my cell phone so that I can connect immediately.  For my friends that I don't regularly talk with, text with or email, I'm thankful to stay connected on social networks.  I remember a friend gave me trouble before church because I was checking my phone.  I told her "that was where my friends lived."  I like that technology has given me access to my friends.

Last week the video card on my desktop computer at home died.  It's still under warranty, so Max pulled it out and will return it.  I can leave the computer on - just can't see it ... unless, of course, I log in from my laptop.  So, here I am at home, with the laptop open, logging in to the desktop computer which resides right next to me.  Yes, technology owns me.

But, I'm not complaining.  I like it.  My friends live in there.


Mike Templeton said...

Isn't it amazing what technology has enabled us to do? Even just the evolution of publishing - from how you talked about using a typewriter to the types of devices students are using today - is almost hard to believe.

Though we're of different generations, I find myself to be much in the same shoes as you: I love being connected through technology. The depth and breadth of relationships I am able to sustain with the help of things like my iPhone and a laptop are incredible. I'm very much like you in that I'm constantly checking my phone to see what is happening in the world, but it's because that's where things happen - just like you said.

The world is becoming more connected each and every day. We're just the next evolution of digital citizens, and I'm ok with that. That's also probably why I enjoy my job so much (working as the social media manager for Kum & Go). I have the opportunity to leverage these technologies to forge relationships with customers on behalf of our company, all while proving that it's worthwhile for us to be engaged.

Thanks for sharing your story about visiting our store. I think it's an analogy that a lot of people can relate to. We all love being connected, but sometimes there's also a need to be completely disconnected and quiet.

Diane Muir said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mike. I think it is great that Kum & Go has hired someone in your position. Social media is certainly threading its way through the internet and into our lives. The sooner corporations figure that out and address it, the sooner they will connect with their customers.

The funny thing is, I don't know that customers really believe that it's real yet - that they can actually make a connection with a large corporation and have fun with it.

I've had some great conversations I never dreamed would be possible, because of social media.

Good luck and have fun!