Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My love-hate relationship with technology

In class yesterday, our prof quoted Robert Bringhurst calling a book "something small enough to hold in your hand, but something large enough to get lost in" - I really enjoy that idea. It conjures an image of being curled up in a big chair but feeling like you're miles away in a different world. There's this romantic notion associated with printed books that I'll never abandon. I've talked about it before, and I'm sure to talk about it again. 

This discussion came from our Technology and Evolving Forms of Publishing class. We also talked about social networking tools and how they can be used as business tools. I've been reluctant to participate in Twitter, not because I think it's just a fad and I'm worried about investing time in something ephemeral, but because when I think "Twitter", I think "lame, attention-hungry celebrities" and "people writing about stupid shit I don't want to hear about". It seems like an entire tool dedicated to proliferating messages that are really just glorified Facebook status updates. But that's not always the case- I'm being harsh. The reality is, the way the tool is defined in your mind depends on your experience with it and what you want it to do for you. Some people use Facebook to chat with friends and keep in touch. Some people use Facebook to post inappropriate/explicit pictures of themselves and show off about all the cool stuff that they do and how hungover they always are. And some people just try and have as many people on their friend list as possible. Regarding Twitter - I'm holding any further judgements until I have a more thorough knowledge of the subject (and an experimental account of my own). 

I'm keeping an open mind and trying not to let my paranoid thoughts rule. New technologies are great, but they also scare me a bit - their overwhelming grip on society and they way we lead our lives is remarkable. Sometimes a text suffices or a status update saves you time - but I fear a world where we're all 'connected' but we're emotionally further from each other than ever. It sounds corny, but I know a lot of people who feel the same way. It's cool that I can see pictures and get updates of a friend's trip while they're away....but I like looking at photo albums after someone's been gone, and meeting for coffee to hear all the crazy stories. Sometimes I don't want to be connected to everyone and I wish that I wasn't privy to 24/7 updates. I think this comes from the fear of where we're headed though - not so much that I don't enjoy the technology that we have now, but that I'm afraid of what it's capable of doing. I love you technology, just please don't turn us into a society of out-of-touch blobs like the people in Wall-E . 


  1. What a beautiful quote to start off a thought-provoking blog post. You bring up so many good points I don't know what I want to respond to first.

    Good for you for reserving judgement on Twitter until you've played around with it on your own. I've met so many people who flat out dismiss it without even having tried it first. I was skeptical about it myself until I opened an account.

    As for technology supplanting face-to-face time--yeah, I do see it happening, especially in my life today. Working in IT and coming home to blog means I log a lot of face time with computer screens rather than friends. But there are times when I feel burned out by technology and I'll say to myself "I can't stare at a computer screen another moment longer." I'll unplug from the Internet for a bit--one day, maybe two--and make other plans instead. It makes a huge difference in combatting technology burnout.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Lisa! And just a little update - I signed up for Twitter today, but I still haven't learned how to use it yet...that is soon to come though!


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