Recently I’ve noticed technology eating up more and more of my time. Blogs… Facebook… Pinterest… YouTube… It starts with an innocent, “I wonder how that job interview went…” log on to Facebook, click on a link a friend shared that takes me to a blog post that then makes me remember something I was going to look up and suddenly I’ve pinned 10 s’mores recipes to my S’mores Board and three hours have passed. (That may or may not have happened in the time I’ve been trying to write this post. Multiple times.)
Know what didn’t get done in that time? Well, this blog post for one. Two, having a meaningful conversation with anyone in my house — unless, “holy crap spider, where did you come from?!” counts. Three, any housekeeping at all (though I did smash and throw away the aforementioned spider). Essentially, I was a mindless blob for hours clicking from one link to another, flowing from site to site like a lost ship at sea with no real direction.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is awesome. I can Skype with my out-of-town family. I can send messages to my friends overseas and they’ll get them within seconds of my pressing “send.” And have you seen my phone? I can take pictures with 5x better resolution than my first digital camera. It is both TV and radio. I can access the wisdom of the ages, map directions to a destination, take notes, and play Tetris. Oh, and call my grandparents — cause it’s a phone! That magic device fits in my purse and I can customize the ringtone. In a pinch it doubles as a flashlight thanks to the handy “Flashlight” app I downloaded… onto my phone.
And yet with all this technology and all the multitude of ways to feel connected I’m feeling very disconnected.
I’ve always been on the socially awkward end of the scale, so being able to communicate without actually being in the same room as anyone has been a godsend. “Like” or “Comment”? I’m all over that! See pictures of your party without having to attend? OK! Networking event downtown that could possibly change my life? Er… no. But if you post a blog about it I’ll totally read it!
Except this accepted godsend of technology has become a crutch. I can’t remember the last time I had an honest, thought-provoking conversation with anyone outside of my inner-circle. Why should we when we have nearly constant access to the inner-workings of everyone’s heads? Though, honestly, direct, stimulating conversation is a rarity even within my inner circle. Possibly because everyone has their noses in their phones…
Miranda Lambert’s new song, “Automatic,” has been on repeat in my mind for weeks now. While many of her references pre-date my memory, the longing for a simpler, albeit more labor-intensive, life is something I’m also yearning for. I want to be invested in things that matter – my people, my home, my food, my community – and yet I keep finding myself drawn to the white and blue website that promises to keep me connected to my friends and family. If the proof is in the pudding it’s not actually doing my relationships any favors.
Maybe I should pick up a pen and paper, or even my phone for calling purposes, and make personal contact with the people who really matter… After I e-mail this blog post.
Nike Bentley is slowly attaining an age that fits her personality… only 36 more years to go! This Oregon native, oldest child, wife, mama, and s’more connoisseur enjoys exploring the great outdoors and making 11 friends/family/total strangers run 182+ mile relays with her for fun. (Her husband refuses. She likes him anyway.)
Editor’s note: It’s fitting that Nike is a charter member of Voices of August because she was a student in the first college class I taught about the blogosphere back in 2009. I created my personal blog (the original Rough and Rede) expressly to have something to show the class and I launched the first VOA the following year. I’ve always appreciated Nike’s friendliness, sense of humor and down-to-earth manner.
Tomorrow: “A time-honored tradition” by Leroy Metcalf