I love and hate technology for the same 4 reasons:
Yes, I love the fact that I can quickly text my husband, “So sorry, running 5 minutes late!” or Skype with my friends who live across the Atlantic Ocean. I love that I can comment on my high school friends’ wedding pictures on Facebook and feel like we’re not 100% out of touch with one another. And I definitely love doing my new Generation grannY Podcast.
Using technology for communication is a beautiful thing. But I also hate it. “Sorry I’m running late” texts are often sent while driving, which causes car crashes, so let’s just start there. Killing people in order to send a text is a terrible thing. On top of that, back in the day, people were way more on time (I’m making that up, but assuming it’s true) because they knew they wouldn’t have the luxury of sending a warning text. That, or they were way more patient, because they understood that things happen that make people late, and accepted it as a part of life.
And while we’re on the subject of text messages, they’re also horrible when used incorrectly. I’m of the firm belief that texts are made for basic communication, like logistics (when and where should we meet?) or for getting answers to simple questions (what’s your sister’s husband’s name again?). They should NOT be used as a form of flirtation or full-on conversations, unless it’s between you and your best friend, and you’re just writing really funny and dramatic things back and forth for pure entertainment. But as soon as the subject starts getting remotely serious, people need to pick up the phone.
Unfortunately, most dating relationships begin with flirty text messages, which creates a level of comfortability with that form of communication, so people continue using texts as their primary mode of “talking” even once things get a little more serious. This leads to unnecessary fights when the tone of “voice” is misunderstood, and when people say way harsher things than they’d say in real life because they’re protected by a screen. With my husband or anyone else– if a conversation begins to feel tense via texts, I switch over to a phone call. I will not let impersonal technology create riffs between my loved ones and me.
And if you’re yelling at someone via text because they won’t talk to you on the phone or in person, you’re not helping the issue or making that person any more interested in listening what you have to say. Just so you know.
The whole “saying things you wouldn’t normally say” when texting is the same principle as online bullying or social media fights in people’s comment sections. (Those stress me out more than anything in the world.) And we all know those things are bad and unproductive, so stop it.
I also have issues with technology in the communication department because things that are supposed to make communication “easier” usually don’t. Today, I listened to a man in Starbucks hold his phone in front of his face and loudly say “Call Chennler” fifty times. At one point, he had to spell “Chennler” letter by letter. DUDE. Just find her in your contact list and press “call.” Also, who is named Chennler? I heard him spell it out multiple times, so that’s how I know this person’s name is definitely C-h-e-n-n-l-e-r. The obscurity of it could explain why Siri was so confused. She’s only programmed to call names like “Emily” and “Tom.”
I love pictures. I probably love them more than most people because I have the memory of a goldfish, so if I don’t take pictures, I would have no clue what has happened in my life thus far. I posted pictures online for the world to see before filters were a thing, but boy am I grateful for X-Pro and Juno. Shiny forehead? Byeeee. Uneven, blotchy skin? Poof, be gone!
As much as I love a good filter, though, the whole “a picture says a thousand words” thing doesn’t really make sense anymore. You never really know if someone looks like they do in pictures, because of filters and photoshop and selfie-angles. Even how people portray their feelings or actions in pictures is “filtered”– like, maybe they post lots of pictures looking happy with their significant other, but in reality, they are on the brink of divorce. (Not the case for me, for the record.) Maybe they post pictures “having fun” at an event, when in reality, they were miserable the whole time, and didn’t even interact with their “friends” other than for the picture. Maybe they post pictures of themselves “working out,” when all they did was wear running clothes to buy a new razor at Target. I mean, you really never know how people are filtering their lives just to look “cool” or seem as happy as they think they’re supposed to be.
So, while I love Clarendon and Ludwig, I also don’t love how we filter our lives. If you’re so busy trying to come across interesting and happy, you’ll never actually be interesting and happy.
I do not know what I did with my life before podcasts and Pandora and videos of dogs doing amazing tricks. I’m seriously impressed by Wii Fit and DVR (yes, I’m impressed with DVR) and pyrotechnics during Taylor Swift concerts. But at the end of the day, I find the most fulfillment being entertained by long bike rides with my husband, staring at the ocean while drinking sparkling wine on the beach for three hours with a friend I haven’t seen in five years, or painting inspirational quotes on canvases I buy at Michael’s.
I get chills listening to someone play guitar and sing on the grass in front of me far more than I get excited about watching Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade or catching an episode of The Voice. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the latter, but while music videos are entertaining, they aren’t as interesting as learning to play guitar, yourself. Or baking a pie. Or going to a fair. Are fairs still a thing? What century is it?
Entertainment also encompasses the news, which is probably the #1 thing that technology has both vastly improved and painfully deteriorated. While people have more access to information, they also believe just about anything they read or hear, and it drives me nuts. Especially in light of the upcoming election. Read more about my thoughts on the uneducated lack of recognition between news and propaganda HERE.
On top of exposure to so much misleading information, I also think that immediate reports of news that allow us to see every little thing that happens in our country creates a much greater atmosphere of fear. The pro is that we’re aware of how to be more safe or prepared, but the con is no longer being able to go through life without expecting, or at best acknowledging the possibility of, something terrible happening. Because, as we know, news outlets pretty much only share the bad things. And now they’re running 24/7 on TV, online, on our phones, etc., so you’re getting hit with every bad story they can find.
But that does lead me to a positive of the news through technology, which is getting to see all the heartwarming stories that people share on social media when they’re trying to fight all the bad stuff we see in the world. Bring on the stories about high school chorus teachers changing lives. I’m all about those.
I love love love that I can get the answer to just about anything at the tips of my fingers. Chipotle burrito calorie calculators are the only reason I’m not 600 lbs, and for that, I am deeply grateful.
And while I don’t know how I’d survive without being able to Google the proper way to chain my bike, I do occasionally dream of simpler times, when you had to put a little effort into research, or figure things out for yourself. I bet, had I taken a solid three minutes, I could’ve easily figured out that the best way to chain a bike is through the tire and around the body, but instead, I just followed a 4 step guide I found online.
Then there’s how Google affect my memory. I’m pretty sure I don’t remember things as much because I don’t need to. Sometimes, it drives me crazy when I can’t think of someone’s name, but then I just go on Facebook and look up mutual friends and voila, the girl I was talking about was Mary-Jane Shollowallobingbong. And this is probably why I didn’t retain anything I learned in college…because I didn’t spend hours pouring over books in the library for information to support my papers. Nope, instead– since we weren’t allowed to use Google– I simply put keywords into approved research websites and voila, there’s a study that supports my thesis. Cha-ching!
Google includes Google Maps, by the way. I actually think Google Maps is the WORST POSSIBLE GPS system to use, because it never ever ever leads you to the right place, but that’s a moot point here. What I actually want to talk about is the fact that I can drive somewhere five times, and still have no clue how to get there, because I’m just blindly following a GPS instead of paying attention to my surroundings. Maps are a beautiful thing. You get your bearings. You understand the bigger picture. And it’s so annoying to read them that you’ll never want to do it again, so you put that little memory of yours to use.
I swear, by the time my grandkids grow up, they won’t even know how to get back to their own front yards without a little voice embedded in their brains telling them how to get there. Wait…can you IMAGINE having a robot voice embedded in your brain? Completely drowning out your own ability to think or have an internal conversation with yourself? Meh, I guess that’s basically the same thing we already experience, since we never sit in silence with our own voices. There’s always a GPS or a podcast or music drowning out our mind’s little voice.
TANGENT. Sorry, I’m done.
There you have it. Technology: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
But seriously. Use a map.