...I was listening to something with half an ear on the radio and they were talking about the addictions to technology that are plaguing all of us these days. Between email and DVR's and Crackberries and the like, we're besieged with technology all around us. You may be addicted to technology and not even realize it.
No, you'd realize it by now. Come on, admit it - you have an addiction to technology. Oh you don't? How about that cell phone right there. You answer it when it rings for a call or beeps for a text message, right? RIGHT? Pavlovian response and the technology has you hooked.
What about your DVR or TiVo? You're addicted to that aren't you? Don't have to watch commercials any longer and you don't have to worry about missing something because something else is on or something else is going on. You can just cue it up later because you've set it to record everything you wanted to see. And maybe some things that you didn't want to see if your DVR is smart.
How about your iPod? Living with that always around you too, right? I know that addiction very well. You couldn't pry my little iPod shuffle out of my hands when I first got it. And I still love it, but mostly it's just for when I go to the gym now. I don't have a grown up iPod and I probably won't for a long time (that's because I'm waiting to see if they ever make a 16Gb Nano).
Sometimes technology is a bane of your existence. That Crackberry keeps you leashed electronically to your office all the time. Or to your social life. Ever consider just turning it off? Well, of course not. Because if you did it would take forever to sync back up with your email program and you wouldn't be able to work as quickly and efficiently for a little while if it wasn't perfectly synced.
I refuse to be leashed to any company I work for, so no Crackberry for me. I'll just read my email when I get home.
Yes, email. That's the biggest addiction only served more readily with a Crackberry or other email reading device, but honestly, they're all like crack - easy enough to get if you know where to look and you can't live without it once you've tried it a couple of times. There are companies out there trying to solve the email addiction. The biggest companies who were behind the development of email are also the ones with the programs out there now to help you better organize your email with tags, or flags or other ways for your priority emails to reach the top of the box.
There are companies out there that are so addicted to technology that everyone instant messages each other, or emails, even if the person you want to talk to is right across the way. That's just leading us down the path that you see in Pixar's "Wall-E"... and if you haven't seen it, that's all I'm going to say about that.
How lazy can you get if you won't get up and walk a few steps to talk to someone and are using instant messaging instead in order to get the message across. That's just not right. The last company I worked for was that way: everyone had IM, and the CEO wouldn't walk 15 feet down the hall to ask a question - he'd IM you. And he was insistent that you answer immediately. God and Fates forbid you were away from your desk without putting your away message up (and if you did put an away message up, he would come out and ask everyone where you were). But let us get back to the cell phone because I think it was sort of the birth of the technology addiction - more than computers and email.
It is hard to resist the lure of a ringing phone. If you have caller ID you're going to get up and walk to it to see who is calling (if we're talking a land line in your home or office). Same thing for your cell phone - you're going to pick that up and answer it. And that's the problem with people in cars - they will answer their phones.
Today, in California, a new law came into effect. If you are driving and holding your phone up to your ear, you can be ticketed for the offense. You must, if you have to take a call, use a handsfree setup - be it either bluetooth or speakerphone does not matter. Both hands must be on the wheel. And if you're under 18 you can't use a phone at all - no calls, no texts. See, there's the loophole in the existing law for those of us over 18 - we can still text message.
While driving, you say incredulously? Yes, while driving. And I have seen people going 65mph+ on the freeway with a Crackberry in their hands at the top of the steering wheel, weaving in their lane because they can't put that damn thing down. It's unsafe to text while driving, and the legislators are working on pushing that one through too.
Even so, it can be distracting to be on the phone while driving. But so is the radio, the other passengers in the car that you're talking to, the kids fighting in the back seat or that fender bender on the side of the road that everyone slows down to take a look at. They're all distractions and we can't drive in a bubble. Life just doesn't work that way.
Life is interacting with people and speaking with them. It's talking with a neighbor in person, or riding a bike in the park, or writing a letter using paper and a real pen. I'm not saying that we all have to eschew technology because some of it does make life easier, but let's use it intelligently and efficiently instead of this crutch that everyone depends on and that you end up being leashed to.
~signed, WG - owner of an iPod shuffle, a DISH Network subscription with a DVR, and a cell phone that plays mp3s and videos, but that part never gets used~