Just a quick update to let you know that I am back online, but with a bit of a catch! Offline time felt very refreshing and so you may not see my very active on social media.
When Deepika first asked me to help edit her book, I didn't think what she had to say really concerned me much. Sure, I use social media, and without the benefits of technology I'd have a tough time keeping my week organized.
Wait, organized is too soft - I need technology quite badly.
Wait, that's not enough either - without technology I'd be out of a job in a week and I wouldn't be able to pay the bills.
Jeez, when you put it that way, it sounds like I was plugged in pretty deeply. I was dependent on the advances of technology to stay afloat.
That doesn't sound very healthy now, does it?
Finding the Balance
Even though I was working on the project, Deepika's message started to steadily gain more steam. As I worked through each chapter I realized just how glued my phone was to my hand. Rarely did I find myself in a situation where I didn't have a device with me, even when other devices were running in the background.
It was too much.
I imagine a lot of you felt the same thing as you ironically swiped between the digital pages of Deepika's book. But if you're like me and you're not ready to throw your phone in the river, hopefully you gained some insightful tips and tricks to balance your relationship with your phone.
Because even though it contains a thousand years' worth of knowledge and entertainment, it's still just a thing.
And you're a person. Congratulations!
Here's each chapter one more time, thanks for reading, and stay balanced!
Do you have friends who are in too deep?
We’re reached the beginning of the end of our story, a chapter I hope finds you well on your way to new beginnings and a daily routine augmented by technology. Through these pages, you’ve learned how to unplug. It’s not a problem for you.
But that doesn’t mean it might not be a problem for someone else.
By no means am I in the camp that says humanity absolutely must live off the grid without the advances of technology. Hopefully that much is clear at this point! But I also hope it’s clear that we should be using technology to benefit our lives. We should be using technology - technology shouldn’t be using us.
The funny thing is that technology actually wants us to find the right balance. Our devices want us to unplug from time to time. Probably because they know the all or nothing approach won’t work in the end.
These machines are so smart. Or maybe the intelligence is in the humans who created these machines?
Our connection with technology is dependant on multiple ingredients. The good news is we get to pick and choose what we want to include in the finished product. It’s important to remember that each of us will have our own recipe for social glory, and that recipe will vary according to our unique situations. So, if we’re making our own rules, it’s good to know what the menu options are. For me, that means today I have my phone tucked away in another room so I don’t have to think about it. But tomorrow, I may need to make myself available 24/7. And you? Well perhaps you never have to be on call - lucky you! It’s abundantly clear at this point that our devices seem to be tethered to us all the time.
But maybe it’s actually the other way around - maybe it’s us who are tethered to them.
So what are we going to do about it?
Still with me?
Great! If you’re still here it’s because you probably feel like you should tone down your dependence on social media and technology. Or perhaps something you’ve read has compelled you to at least consider some options. As I’ve said before, you’re in the driver’s seat and you should only make adjustments that feel right to you. Will those adjustments enhance your life? That’s what it’s all about: whether you’re toning down or tuning up your technology usage: enhancement.
That said, we must be clear that even with these strategies it can be difficult to corral your personal switch cost.
I’m old enough to remember a time when most of our current technology was simply a fantasy. Over the years, technological advancements have crashed upon us like waves on a beach. Nowadays, it happens so quickly we’re fine to accept new technology without a second thought.
I remember my nephew visiting my apartment on campus in the early 2000’s. He was three years old and absolutely fascinated by the strange curly cord attached to my telephone. Fast forward and now I have a three year-old of my own who’s never seen a curly phone cord and is awestruck by things like a busy signal. “What, why can’t they just answer the other line? Can’t they see we are calling? Where’s the video?”
Alright, social media and technology aren't all bad. We've got that part surrounded. But social media and technology do have some significant downsides. You might be aware of these but many are sneakier than they seem, especially since most of them blend into one another.
Do any of these look familiar?
1. Technology is Addictive
Did you hear about the man who walked into a bar while texting?
If you’ve made it this far, you may be wondering why I’m not yet advocating for you to toss your phone into the sea. Like me, you may have been tempted to get rid of your gadget, or at least daydream about a time when you weren’t tied to one. But for all their negative traits, something keeps us tied to our devices and their streams of content.
The truth is, technology and social media isn’t all bad. I can remember the drama of school holidays and not being able to chat with my friends for the long two months before classes started again. This simply isn’t reality in today’s connected society.