Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Creepy Invasion of Technology

I should warn you, I'm going to assume the role of Stick in the Mud here. I will have to assume my personal opinion on the following subject stems in part from the fact that I purposely do not own/use most of the technology gadgets that are currently available. I've written about this here before and I'm going to do it again because I think it needs to be said. Often.

Today online, I noticed two different comments on social networking sites that made me sit back and really wonder if we're not letting technology become far more invasive than it really should be. Now while it's totally unfair to assign motives based on two little comments, these are the kinds of comments I see often.

One comment was from a brother who mentioned what his pastor was saying; giving the impression that he'd actually typed that comment in church, during the Sunday sermon. The other comment was from another brother who thought it would be a good idea for someone to invent a client for a popular social networking site, that looks like a run of the mill spreadsheet page. The purpose in that would be so that you could use it at work, fool your boss and co-workers, but still participate in your socializing online during work hours.

I thought about both of those comments for longer than I really wanted to. Something about them bothered me, and I can only assume it has everything to do with how much it creeps me out that the human race seems to be turning into cyborgs. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking "that's a little extreme, don't you think?" Well, think about it for a minute.

At any time of the day, any day of the week no matter where you go you will find people plugged in. Plugged into earbuds, or phones actually attached to their heads. If they don't have one or both of those, they have their cell phones or laptops with them no matter where they go. They MUST be able to contact others and be contacted, 24 hours a day seven days a week no matter what. No matter where they are, no matter what they're doing, no matter if it's appropriate or not, these are people that must remain connected to the hub of socializing or they'll... they'll what? I have no idea what happens to these people if they suddenly lose their connection, but I assume it's not pretty. This is why I say human beings are turning into some kind of half-human/half-robot type of creatures that are dependant on computer chips and electronic wizardry to stay functional. I seriously question what kind of people they would be if suddenly they were without all these electronic toys. Could they even function in a face to face social setting? Would they have a clue what to do at home if they couldn't "connect"? Would they suddenly become irritable and moody, like people who go through drug addiction withdrawls? Maybe that sounds just as extreme as people turning into cyborgs, but is it really? I think we've all known people that actually do get like this when one of their toys fails them.

Now, with that said the question begs whether or not it's ever really reasonable to have a device with you in such places like church or the office, where you can have direct, personal communication access at any given moment. Well, of course it is. Various situations such as a medical condition that might require a moment's notice is the first thing that comes to mind. I suppose there are other situations that I am not even able to think of that would also fall into this same category. The thing is though, this is most certainly not what many folks are using their connectivity for. They're at work looking for ways to twitter (or at church texting their buddies, or at school messaging someone who's in another class), for crying out loud. I don't care who you are, bagging your responsibilities during the course of the day so you can tweet and update your buddies on what's going on with you at any given moment, borderlines (to me, anyway) on seriously immature, irresponsible nonsense. Besides, who in the world is that special that anyone really NEEDS to know what they're doing when they're supposed to be working? Are we really all that self-absorbed that we think the followers on our twitter page or facebook, myspace are just sitting there waiting with baited breath for our next update? I hope we're not thinking that way. I really really hope we're not thinking that way, but I have a hunch I am probably wrong about this. I think there are lots of people out there that are exactly like this.

Obviously, the key is balance. Knowing when, why, how, where and how often, and all that sort of thing. Example: it's perfectly okay to have your earbuds in while painting a wall, but it's a very stupid thing to do to have them in while sitting in church. Another example: it's understandable to kick off your shoes after work and update your social site status for your friends and family, but it's entirely irresponsible to bag work duties so you can tweet and check up on your friends. I know this sounds ridiculously obvious, but apparently its a message that is going right over the heads of a lot of people. I can't even say it's young people either and blame it on youth and immaturity, because I've seen it taking place with people well into their 40s and 50s and even older. It's just plain creepy.

There, I've ranted and I feel lots better.



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