A middle aged women’s thoughts on technology overload
I made some observations over the weekend as to my own personal use of technology. My conclusions merit the need to unplug a little bit more, but this proves to be more than a feeble challenge in a society that has adopted the “always available” mentality.
Nowadays, when you send a text, an immediate response is expected. If you send an email, responding within the day is acceptable. When you leave a voicemail, a call is expected within the day. Or do you just return a call with a text?
Yes, technology overload is here and whether or not that’s a bad thing is really up to how you handle it.
Personally, I recognized a few of my (bad) habits:
- I take my iPhone to bed with me. Before I fall asleep I check email, take a look at Facebook and play my turn in Words with Friends. When I wake up, I grab my smartphone to see what time it is; then check my email, take a look at Facebook and take my turn at Words with Friends. Trust me – a lot can happen in the middle of the night!
- When I stop at a stoplight or stop sign, I check my phone to see if anyone texts me. I use Bluetooth so I know I won’t miss a call.
I also recognized a few of my annoyances:
- I am annoyed when I hear other people’s phones buzzing or chiming to indicate they have a new message/text/email. Maybe that is why I keep my phone on vibrate at all times. It eliminates my ability to annoy others, and the natural reaction to check and see what created the buzz, hence the immediate need to drop everything and respond.
- I am extremely annoyed when people are so consumed in their cell phone conversations that they have no regard for the fact there are other people standing right next to them – let alone in confined spaces like the restroom… Really? I’ll admit, I jump-start the auto flush multiple times just for good measures in times like that.
When I grew up, (besides walking up hill to school both ways in the snow), the phone I used was connected to the wall in our kitchen. It had a really long cord and the only way to get a little privacy was to stretch it into the closet.
Believe it or not, I miss those days. My parent heard most every word of my conversation. And when they couldn’t, they quietly picked up the receiver from the phone in their bedroom and listened!
And before you judge, as a parent, I would agree that this type of listening to other’s conversations is a good thing. Albeit this occurs in the privacy of our own homes. Perhaps it’s more a matter of phone portability.
Or… it might just be a matter of impatience intersecting with an accelerated pace of technology.
For example, I went to the doctor the other morning for an 8:30am appointment. I was greeted by the nurse, brought into an exam room where my vitals were taken. I was told the doc would be in shortly. As the nurse left, I noticed a sign on the counter: “Please turn off cell phones and refrain from using while in our office”. There were no magazines to browse through. WHAT in the world am I supposed to do with myself while I wait?
Then I think, “Does cell phone = an iPhone?” I kind of got annoyed that they were dictating what I could and couldn’t do while I wait. I sneaked my phone out quickly to check the time. 9:05am. I put the phone back in my pocket and looked around the room again. I read all of the posters and tapped my feet impatiently.
And there I was when the doctor came in minutes later… playing Words with Friends.