My wife, Connie, and I were talking last week about the amount of time that we spend with technology.
Not just using it, which we do, but also talking about it, talking about the influence that it has on society, commenting on the newest devices, and so much more.
Not too long ago there were special Technology sections in newpapers, magazines, and TV news.
We are past that now as technology is incorporated into every aspect of our lives. As it is and as it should be.
Technology-based stories are often the leading stories of the day: An epidemic of sexting at a Colorado high school; security hacks and leaks; cloud computing and its implications; the release of the latest and newest devices, apps, and upgrades.
Perhaps the biggest issue, however, is our focus on technology and how that is changing society.
On a recent trip that involved several long air legs and too much time in airports I observed people with their devices. Here are several things I noticed.
Do any of these ring true for you, your children, or grandchildren?
You know you are spending too much time online when…
• Personal assistants have become “real” people. Siri, Robin, Skyvi, or any of the other personal assistants on your phone or tablet has become your new best friend. You talk to Siri. You spend more time talking to Siri than family members or friends. You even catch yourself scheduling a lunch date with Siri or Robin. Or we talk about Siri and how smart and understanding she is. Do you notice the strange looks you get from your real friends when you do this?
• You realize that you haven’t looked “up” in weeks…maybe years. Your natural head position is down, the better to read and type into your phone or tablet. Walking down the street. Standing on line waiting for something. Watch for it. The phone comes out and the head goes down.
You walk out the door of an office building or store and immediately the phone comes out and the head goes down. You never know. The White House may have called you for advice on the world situation. Maybe NASA wants you to consult on their latest space project. Or maybe your spouse/partner wants you to pick up some toilet paper on the way home from work.
You never know when the important call or text is coming your way. And you must be ready.
• Anytime someone asks you a question you respond, “Just a minute, I’ll look that up.” “Let me Google that?”
How do I spatchcock a turkey for the best turkey anyone has ever eaten? Google “spatchcock my turkey” and you’ll get articles, pictures, and videos that show you how to do just that. Need to know how to fix your smoke alarm. Just ask Google. Wonder what the optimum air pressure is for your car’s tires. Google it!
While search is a wonderful and useful resource, sometime we simply want to have a conversation WITHOUT everyone pulling out their smartphones.
But wait a minute, does anyone know the average temperature for December in Des Moines?
Ok, you get the idea. We all love our devices but sometimes we need to turn them off, not think about them, and do something else. Almost anything else.
With the holidays coming up, now is the time to take stock of our digital habits, particularly if they take you away from face-to-face contacts. This isn’t rocket science. But give it a try.