Do you love technology, enjoy the latest updates, and stress when you notice your smartphone needs a charge because it's only at 97%?
If so, you are probably one of the growing numbers of folks whom I would deem the Technocrazies. It's absolutely wonderful to get knee-deep into all this fun stuff, isn't it?
I thought so too.
Then I started noticing, the more I texted, the worse my eyesight got. No, really. If was busy and texted a lot with clients or friends, and especially with stress, I found my eyesight going blurry.
Just tired? Sure. When I got some rest and reduced the texting the sight got better. But tearing myself away from this habit proved harder than I thought.
Because I noticed something else...I NEEDED to check my phone...like...often! Gong from my car to the house, I would check it. When I got in, I would get on my computer and sure enough, fire up Outlook and check it again...I began to notice a darker side to the tech that I hadn't considered before: it's actually addicting.
I'm putting this out there to you fellow Technocrazies: this tech stuff is cool for sure, but there's a downside, a hidden cost to it that is not obvious. It's the cost we incur when we wake up and realize the entire afternoon has gone by, we took a walk and all we saw was our smartphones and texts - and never noticed the ducks or the other people at the park!
It's the hidden cost we incur by constantly interacting with our fellow human beings via pieces of metal and plastic instead of flesh and blood: a subtle and not-so-subtle diminishment of our capacity to communicate clearly and articulately with our fellow human beings.
The art of communicating used to be incredible. For example, Mark Twain - wait, you do know who Mark Twain is? He wrote Tom Sawyer? Sigh. This is going to be harder than I thought.
OK, nevermind, the point is, communication used to be an actual "art" as well as a discipline. People used to prize the ability to say things clearly and succinctly, and would work hard at it until they were good at it. Mark Twain once wrote at the end of a long letter: "I apologize for the length of this letter. I did not have time to make it shorter!".
Ironically, we are more pressed for time than ever, yet few of us really know how to write a powerful and simple email or text. I'll give you a little hint: get to the point quickly and make a clear request in all your communications.
And another thing...our language is also changing, not necessarily for the better. One might say it's getting dumbed down. For example, you do use text-speak, right? You write, "How R U?" and Me2 and BRB and...
Although a fun language of its own, have you noticed this kind of language creeping into your emails and even more formal communications? I will admit that language is defined by its usage, but this kind of destruction of the language is hard to undo...but it, too, is addicting, isn't it?
And what of our increasing isolation with this technology? We connect ourselves more and more with each other electronically, ironically, which distances ourselves from each other emotionally and physically.
In short, gang, our tech is wonderful but there is a very real dark side to all of it.
Think you're not addicted? Ha! I'm going to keep this simple and make a clear request of you: I dare you to go one morning without checking your smartphone ONCE.