Technology and I have had a very. very rough relationship.
Love/Hate doesn’t exactly cover it.
It’s more like an implant that I require to stay alive but one which causes me extreme pain.
Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? But hear me out; I think it’s legit.
I remember years ago talking to my older aunts and uncles about what life was like before the widespread use of the telephone. They had grown up in Sicily and while phones certainly existed, they were a rarity. So news traveled far more slowly and each pronouncement became of greater import.
Births, marriages, deaths – all were dutifully recorded and word was passed from family member to family member, from family to family, until the word was spread as widely as possible. Nevertheless, it was often years before “news” was heard.
Once in this country, things changed, of course, and the telephone became a common household item.
The world was “shrinking” and we became more a global people than ever before.
Then, within my own lifetime, it all went to [insert appropriate negative term here].
Just to be clear, I’m looking at this from my own very personal perspective, not the world perspective.
Now wait a minute…am I saying that despite being able to speak to people virtually anywhere in the world or send a message that can be seen and responded to instantly that technology has stopped being awesome and has become a menace? Yup, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Here’s how it went down hill for me…
Let’s start with those phone calls – first of all the phone call replaced the visit. You want to talk to someone? Call them. Don’t go over and see them, call. I used to have these guys who worked for me who sat literally at each others elbows and they would call rather than swivel their chairs around and simply talk. Neighbors used to sit in other ‘s homes and grab a coffee and chat but now we call instead.
But wait, calling is too personal, too “in your face” so let’s scale that back to email or worse, text messaging.
You see, if you call me and we have any kind of conflict, we have to deal with it, real time. But if we email me then there’s this built-in buffer that eliminates that uncomfortable closeness. Of course our dialogue now becomes a set of intertwined monologues but that’s so much…neater.
We could compromise and use text messaging. This way we have immediacy AND time-delay since we’re not actually talking each of us could be doing any number of things while we’re “conversing” so what would be a pregnant pause in a conversation becomes a perfectly understandable gap which could be nothing more than waiting for satellites to align!
Let’s not forget the best part of this though – social media! Now, rather than actually telling someone something important you can post it and nobody needs to bother with the inconvenience of interaction at all! I call it “conversation by innuendo” since you have to read between the lines to understand just what that vague comment really means. Maybe you’ll get lucky and there’s a photo attached with a clue!
Think I’m being too harsh with this? Think I’m just being an old codger (you kids might have to search for that term)? Well, maybe I am but I also know that I’m right about how this affects my life.
Visits have given way to phone calls which have given way to emails which have given way to texts which have given way to social media posts/tweets which eventually give way to…silence.
Think it’s lonely to sit alone at home? That’s nothing compared to being in the same house with someone, even the same room, perhaps the same couch, and knowing that some demonic electronic is taking up all the attention of a loved one.
yeah, [insert appropriate/inappropriate vulgarity here] technology.