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Technology is the Worst Thing to ever Happen to me

31 December 2016

From HackerNoon:

Everyone says that technology is great. We can do so much more! I can catch up with old friends! I’m alerted immediately to everything that happens so I never miss out! Look at this photo of my best friends sisters cousins dog in Indonesia drinking a milkshake!

My contrarian truth for 2017 is that technology, or at least the current advances to instantaneous always connected communication, has ruined my life. I don’t mean that as some sort of hyperbole, I literally mean it has detrimentally affected the quality of life that I have every day.

It has bred obsession on a scale unimaginable before smartphones. At no time in human history have we been more connected to everyone around but at no point have we been more detached. Meetings and conversations have been replaced by likes and retweets and form the social currency which afford us happiness.

I’m expected to answer email all the time, calls whenever they arrive, friends when they WhatsApp me, colleagues when they LinkedIn me, acquaintances when they tweet me. I’m constantly overwhelmed by the barage of communication I’d become an outcast from if I ignored it.

Only I wouldn’t but we all have fear of missing out.

. . . .

We see all the good parts of people’s lives and none of the bad. It gives us unrealistic expectations of what our own life should be like so we try to compete.

. . . .

Smartphones are a terrible habit and a cancer. We are addicted and they cause as much harm as many illicit substances. In many ways we are even less in the moment when on our phones than we would be if on something. We aren’t even present; if your attention isn’t focused on your reality are you really conscious?

Link to the rest at HackerNoon

One of the benefits PG finds in a Kindle is that he really does only one thing with it. Read. Books.

Yes, he can shop on Amazon, but he finds the Eink shopping experience slow and clumsy so he never buys ebooks or anything else with his Kindle. He’s not certain if there is a browser on his current Kindle because the browser experience on his first Kindle was so bad, he immediately stopped using it.

PG has a tablet and, for him, it’s not a good tool for reading books. He’ll read short articles on the tablet, check email, websurf, etc., but he much prefers the Kindle for books. He essentially treats it as a non-connected device for 99.999% of the time it’s in his hands. It’s a book and a small bookshelf.

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22 Comments to “Technology is the Worst Thing to ever Happen to me”

  1. Poor guy must not have found the off switch on his phone yet.

    Pagers were the worst thing to ever come around, until I started leaving mine in the car when I went home at night (one of the few jobs I wasn’t paid by the hour and they never ‘repaid’ overtime.)

    Unplug/turn off the phone, disable the Wi-fi and be free for a bit.

  2. A few months ago, I used FB Purity to modify my FaceBook experience. Now, my wall is blank. I only use FB to participate in my groups (which I deeply enjoy).

    At first, it did feel really weird and a bit boring not knowing what was going on. There was an addiction to the adrenaline hit from the constant stream of input.

    Now, my quality of life has gone way up. The things I focus on are by choice rather than by habit. It’s freed up a ton of time and emotional energy which I’m investing in things that really matter to me.

    It really did make a huge difference.

    • I just unfriend people I haven’t seen in a few years and most likely will never see again. Especially if they post anything remotely political.

  3. It’s funny because as a disabled person, Technology is the best thing in my life and I don’t know how I could’ve coped without it.
    When these Neoludite types complain about addiction, it makes me wonder, perhaps uncharitably, whether the fault lies with them, and not the technology they claim to despise.

    • Without FB, I would be an isolated shut-in writer without practically any social life.

      With FB, I’m normal. I choose the experience, the same as I would if I were making appointments to see friends for lunch vs. going out with the gang from the office.

      I dipped into Twitter, and recoiled in horror – can’t do that. So I don’t.

      But online and FB and the things I CHOOSE to participate in make my non-writing time more interesting and refreshing than it would have been otherwise.

      And I’ve ‘met’ wonderful people.

      And readers.

  4. Aaanndd… he’s selling something. Because of course he is.

    Here’s how i’m Detaching

    I’m building Cleeyk; a lifestyle management system alleviating life’s biggest annoyances; wasted time and effort. It removes your need to worry about insurance renewals and monthly subscription services, ensuring you never talk to another call centre or haggle on price again. Your services renew automatically at the most cost efficient price meaning you never have to search or compare.

  5. I do the same thing with my kindle (though I do buy a lot of books through it, with the ‘buy the next in a series’ button, or the ‘other customers who bought this liked this’ lists).

    I find the kindle a little less distracting than physical books, even, which get heavy, and have to be handled more cautiously because they might tear/get wet/fall down/have to be put down somewhere so I can turn pages, etc.

  6. I may browse ebooks on Amazon with my Kindle, but not often. I read on it.

    Social media is a different bird, and yes it can be overwhelming at times. I’ve mostly walked away from Twitter after several years of using it daily. I’m on Facebook almost daily now, but usually for my public account, not my private one.

    Thing is, not only am I an author, but I help with our shelter’s adoption program.

    Social media’s really helped shelters, volunteers, and rescues network (we have a few rescues that regularly take dogs we can’t fit into our adoption program!).

    It’s amazing how many people won’t come check the shelter when their dog or cat goes missing, but hey, post those new arrivals on Facebook, and they’re messaging us to see what they need to do to come pick them up because a dozen people saw their missing pet and notified them.

    I don’t like always being connected via my phone though. I miss being able to drive down the highway with my music blasting, and not have it interrupted by a phone call or text.

  7. I’m definitely excessively involved with screens. There are too many things to check — texts, FB PMs, voice messages, email (I have a number of addresses), and Facebook itself.

    On the plus side, FB connections and visibility have made it possible for me to be a successful indie author. Ereaders are revolutionary, and I find reading on them to be a welcome respite from all the social media distractions.

    Like most things, it has positives as well as negatives. It’s up to us to manage the latter. Wish me luck in 2017!

  8. Al the Great and Powerful

    I just don’t understand folks who can’t seem to put things down. Phone call? answer, don’t answer, do what you want at the time. You aren’t a watch-stander, there’s no obligation to pick up.

    Likewise email, Linkedin, FaceBonk, and all the other services technology has to offer. Tools to help, not masters to be served.

    As much as I hate to espouse new age philosophy, I just want to tell all those techno-slaves who refure to drop their chains to just “…be here now.” To be HERE now, not on the phone, not twittering, email can wait, LinkedIn has never found me a job I wanted so I’ll read it later, and so forth. Be involved where you are and when you are, don’t rush and ignore in favor of people who aren’t even there.

    At the moment I read on my tablet at home (or the pc), and on my phone at work. I’m in the middle of a stretch of archaeological monitoring, hanging around a construction project and watching when they dig, in case there are human remains or cultural deposits onsite (the project is surrounded by previous burial finds). There’s a fair amount of down time when they are doing other tasks that don’t involve ground disturbance, so I sit in a camp chair out of the way and read while I wait.

    I do keep pdfs of the archaeological and construction plans on my tablet for reference at work, though I haven’t had to refer to them much on this project. My Kindle DX soldiers on as the bathroom library.

    • Almost ten years ago, I was at an airshow, and had an epiphany. I was so busy trying to get the flyby filmed on my phone that I wasn’t really enjoying it – and I wasn’t seeing it, I was watching the screen on my phone. So I put the phone back in my pocket, and enjoyed the heck out of that airshow.

      Since then, I’ve enjoyed life without wondering how I’m going to distill it into a blog post, or capture it on video/photo. I’m sure I missed a lot of recording great days, but I’ve also enjoyed a lot of life, and made a lot of memories.

      You can let life happen to you, or you can choose to enjoy the ride. *shrugs* I know what I want out of my tech, and I use it heavily. But I’m also too busy laughing and chatting with friends when floating down the river, and fending off rocks with my cane, to feel like I ought to be recording or transmitting the experience, or seeing what’s on the internet.

  9. I’m not so sure people are addicted to the technology per se. I /think/ they’re addicted to the rush of being ‘heard’. Not in an audible sense, but in the sense of being noticed/admired/flattered/validated.

    As authors, we want the same things, it’s just that we seek them a different way. I think we’re the lucky ones.

  10. Technology is by itself neutral.
    Use it properly and it will be good to you.
    Misuse it and it will be your failing, not the tech’s.

  11. Aww … diddums! that’s what ‘off’ buttons are for!

    • That would leave him with nothing to do.

      • Without all the noise and distractions he might be able to think of something worth doing.

        Oh, wait. I used the word ‘think’ in reference to the OP didn’t I? Never mind …

        • We see that all the time now, people who want the world to change so they won’t have to. Typically, moving backwards…

          And boomers were supposed to be the “Me generation”.

  12. This post reminds of of a meeting I participated in. A man said, “I don’t know what to do when my phone receives a notification during dinner and I’m trying to have a nice evening with my family.” He asked us for suggestions on how to deal with such a situation.

    People said, “I only answer if it’s my boss,” or “I turn off the ringer and keep an eye on the screen,” etc. It still makes me laugh to think of the stunned silence I received when I said, “I have all notifications turned off. I check Facebook and email. Facebook and email don’t check me.”

    I like my iPhone and all my other little technologies. But I own them, not the reverse.

  13. People made the same comments about radio, and television, and CB radio.

    Then BBSs, email, and instant messaging…

    People will probably say it again when the intracranial holographic advertising delivery systems come out.

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