Monday, August 10, 2009
3 Life Before Internet Access -- Did It Exist? ;)
Let me just say up front: This post has NOTHING at all to do with running. However, since the topic at hand has affected my ability to post, I thought it deserved a brief mention. :)
My internet access was just restored late this afternoon after being down for several days. Without trying to sound melodramatic about it, I felt like I'd been marooned on a desert island. :)
Of course, being forcibly disconnected from the online world is certainly one way to get a sense of exactly how much one actually does rely upon it as an essential resource and communication tool for everyday existence!
As a person who works from home & relies rather heavily on internet access for all sorts of information & communications -- weather, news, business conference calls, staff correspondence, work-related research, etc. --it basically felt like I had been cut off from the outside world. :)
And what's most maddening about it all is not being able to tell people en masse "what has happened," (i.e., why I seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet! :) ), or not being able to explain to them why I haven't yet responded to their time-sensitive communications that I can't even view in the first place (but just know are piling up out there in cyberspace). Maybe it's worth getting a smartphone just for some emergency backup internet redundancy. :)
TV? Radio? Nah, these days, I prefer the internet as my primary go-to information source. And thanks to TiVo, I don't really watch live TV anymore, with a few rare exceptions. The bottom line is that the internet is just the most convenient, readily-available source for pretty much almost anything and everything.
Even though I have been known to text on a rare occasion, I'm not really part of the texting generation -- Not having an actual text plan probably has something to do with that! (Friends, please take particular note of this announcement. Thanks! ;) )
Frankly, I would rather tweet, DM, & IM for the most immediate forms of communication. As for Twitter, I'm not really into the Twitlonger app, so any correspondence over 140 chars will usually be relayed in an email or IM.
Notably absent from the above list are unscheduled (mobile) phone calls. :)
This is not to say that I don't enjoy talking on the phone; however, when it comes to time-sensitive information exchange, I prefer email. It's much more efficient, & I tend it check it more often than my voice mail. (Again, family & friends, please take note of this.)
This is one of the beauties of IP phones; at a former workplace, I used to have my voice mail autoforward to my email. Ah, now THAT's my idea of sheer perfection. :)
Frankly, I dislike having to check messages which are scattered about in a zillion different formats & locations. The bottom line is that people have enough to do, let alone keep track of messages in a zillion places -- For most of us, our memories are stretched to capacity as is. Plus, why create more needless tasks? After all, people are not squirrels or ferrets. :) Centralized messaging & tasking (with filtering/sub-folders) is my idea of absolute bliss.
Heck, if I could, I'd like to create one big cron job for all of the scattered messages across various social media & communication formats & tools (i.e., Twitter DMs & replies, Facebook, IMs, voice mails, emails, etc.), & anything else requiring my action or attention, & just be done with it. :)
Video teleconferencing via Skype is another preferred communication, but I prefer to schedule these first via email, IM, & Twitter.
Friends and family, you might want to make note of all the above, because it probably explains a lot about why you might not be getting timely responses in some communication formats & snappy responses in other formats. :)
I realize some people might not understand or relate to this post. I'm OK with that.
You see, for many of us, being a geek isn't just a job description. Those of you who are into the joy of technology for its own sake, take pleasure in discussing new ideas that have yet to be born, & prefer to think "virtual media" as an enhancement of our existing realities, versus simply an extension of alternate realities -- those of you who live & think on that mental plane -- will know exactly what I mean.
Heck, some of my friends sleep with their smart phones underneath their pillow. I have not taken to doing this behavior, but then again, I don't yet own a smartphone. :)
Like Sam Altman, (founder of Loopt), predicted, I also believe that the current trend of "nontraditional" mobile phone usage (i.e., functions other than "verbal communication" :) ) will only continue to increase in the future.
But seriously, it's time to re-evaluate how we view our technology usage patterns, because they are going to change even more over the next few decades. I'm sure it's tempting for some to make fun of what they don't understand, or to ridicule differences. A lot of times this is done to create an artificial barrier between those who resist change and the entities representing that change. However, many of these changes are largely positive improvements & enhancements to our lives, & should be welcomed. Even if some of them present new social constructs & corresponding issues, we will no doubt come up with new ways of managing them all.
In fact, I would wager that some of these very same people who initially resist these changes will probably be eating their words at some point, as they gradually begin to take on some of the same technology-based activities of those whom they have made fun of most often. :)
Once the beacon beckons & the light bulb in the brain turns on, there's no turning back, baby! We can't make others see those wonders until they are ready to see it, but once their life is made quantifiably easier through the advent of new technology, it all somehow begins to make sense to them. Of course, personalizing the power of technology & showing people its instant applicability in their own daily lives is a small step on the pathway to enlightenment. :) Then, the process of technology transfer can truly begin.
It's like the old Gertrude Stein truism about how first everyone says no, and then gradually, they all say "yes." :) That applies to many societal patterns, of which the incorporation of technology is just one example.
Or to quote Douglas Adams (or heaven-forbid, Star Trek - LOL!), "Resistance is futile/useless." :)
While some may choose to hold out against trends in technology for various reasons, or choose to mislabel the technologically-enlightened as "addicts," others will choose to see these technology transfer patterns for what they really are.
Yes, for many of us, technology is just that essential to our lives. And even for those people who aren't yet a part of this reality, this truth is gradually becoming all the more apparent.