Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WWWW: Technology

Birdie here.
Coming at ya with a few comments about an aspect of life that is basically right up in our faces at all times.


To begin, I'd like to turn your attention to my homeboy Louis C. K., whose humor I don't normally identify with, but who hit the nail right on the head with these comments.

So...I'm a product of the 90's, so the internet has existed as long as I have.  Therefore I do not come from an age quite as dark as that of my parents/grandparents (who had to - gasp - do their research papers from actual BOOKS).

But let me tell you something:
I am from the age of the corded home phone.
I am from the age of the walkman.
I am from the age of "what is a laptop?"
I am from the age of dial-up internet.
Anytime my parents just HAD to talk to their friends and colleagues on the phone, 
And guess what?
It was annoying, but not unbelievably crippling and utterly devastating as it is to the youth of today.

When I was ten, I had quite the imagination. Anybody who knew me back then will tell you. I had an impressive (but not excessive) collection of dolls, materials for playing house, coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, books upon books upon books, etc. and I actually USED them. I absolutely wore out any imagination-promoting, non-electronic toy you could think of. I could have stayed in my pool for hours playing mermaids and being, quite literally, the queen of my own universe.

....................and then my hot pink brick of a Nokia cell phone happened, 
and my imagination died a horrible death for several years.

I certainly didn't need a phone, but all my friends had one, so I could NOT be the only cellphone-less gal in middle school. Could. Not.
Suddenly the only thing that mattered ever was getting more phone numbers than everyone else,
and then suddenly the greatest day ever was when I had 15 contacts, that I never even talked to, given my 23-ish total minutes of pay by the minute service and no texting privileges.

It didn't stop there, unfortunately.  All of a sudden, I had to be constantly connected. I was the one zoned out on road trips, not bothering to participate in family discussions because I had to listen to my Destiny's Child and Avril Lavigne for hours at a time. I had a few friends that I only ever hung out with so we could play the Sims together. I absolutely HAD to have the latest and greatest, just to prove that I did. And this was during the totally ~revolutionary~ age of the Motorola Razr and the black and white screen iPod Video.
Fast forward to junior/senior year in high school and my first couple of years in college. I saw how technology had taken over others my own age to an even greater extreme.  More concerning, however, is how I saw it take over the lives of the younger generation. I have a brother who has thrown terrifying fits upon being told his "screen-time" is up for the day. I have another sibling who feels entitled to the latest iPhone at the age of 14, whereas I didn't even think about smartphones until I was well into college. 

Our increased obsession with and dependence upon constant connection to the internet and general inability to It's an interesting development in our world, to say the least.

You can barely even make it through college without a smart phone.
Gone, pretty much, are the days of paper coupons.  Want to save some $$? Better bring your phone to check in/tweet something/redeem your LivingSocial deal/show the voucher/QR code you got via email.

People expect immediate responses, so my job essentially demands that I have my phone next to me at all times, so I can quickly respond to the dozens of emails I get every day.

You can't just leave a message and know that they'll get back to you at their earliest convenience.  You send a text, freak out if they have read receipts on, and stress for the next several hours, trying to guess whether or not they read your text and is either busy or just plain ignoring you.
~story of my life~
This is the state we are in.  I know that I am still far more "connected" than I ought to be, but at the same time I like to think that I might be doing a bit better than some.
I can go a whole day without a text convo of any kind and literally not care.
I don't upgrade to the next best thing unless absolutely necessary (last Christmas I finally caved because the pixels in my phone were bleeding and it was basically unusable -- I still waited several weeks though.)
I'm still using a rather heavy laptop with no functioning webcam.  It has new issues pretty much every month and won't last me too far beyond graduation, but it does the job and I'm more than satisfied.
Everytime I read a text, I decide how much effort it's going to be to reply.  If it's not worth it, I don't.
And when the Twombley-era OS swoops in and takes over, I have every intention of throwing all of my electronics in the fire and moving to a remote cave where they'll never find me 
(I don't actually know who "they" is, but for some reason I always envision the future with some sort of all-knowing, omniscient "they," don't you?)
I like to think that I"ll pull a Ron Swanson and pull myself as off-the-grid as possible.

Probably not though tbh :/

xoxo Birdie