Un-techy and OK With It

Technology neophyte, rejecter of e-books, e-classes and sometimes even e-mail. So illiterate. I am more stunned than awed by the impact, and rate and spread of social media. I didn’t even know there was a pervasive cell phone addiction among middle school kids, probably because I was, until very recently–as in this morning– clueless about how mainstream, how integrated, this still new to me “thing” has become among the 11 to 13 year old set. I am still greeting family dinner members with No Cell Phone Zone signs on my front door while high school teachers are integrating the latest Bell incarnation into daily classroom activities. The gap feels like it is warp speed widening, so fast I feel uncharacteristically old fogey. So fast, the rules of common courtesy and politeness have many times seemed forgotten. Is it just a generational thing to want to stop mid sentence when the person you are talking to periodically shifts his gaze to check for messages? Do youngers feel minimized when an important question or conversation directed at a boss or family member is delivered to a faceless back of a computer screen, that in a slightly annoyed voice says “ Go ahead,” if you pause to wait for at least eye contact. Even the familiar rhythm of time increments is mutating. “ I texted him an hour ago, but I haven’t heard back. Where is he? ” “I e-mailed yesterday and still haven’t gotten a reply.” It feels like the electronic leash is getting shorter by the day. I am not advocating a return to the Pony Express, but please, if you want to invite me to your family farewell party, don’t e-vite me. If you want to say thank you for the painstakingly selected wedding gift, either send a paper note or nothing. My phone number, on my–no doubt soon to be obsolete–landline, hasn’t changed in 39 years. If I’m not home, I do have time to listen to actual voice messages and I will call you back. I am indeed fascinated by the wealth of information available with the touch of a google search, but I miss thrill of discovering a hands-on library jewel referenced on a dog-eared card catalogue entry. I am willing to learn and use these new fangled tech wonders but I won’t do it at the expense of courtesy, and given the choice, I will walk out to the garage instead of texting that dinner is ready.

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8 thoughts on “Un-techy and OK With It

  1. I appreciate this post. I hate when I hear about a birth or a death….. by email or on social media. I laughed at the part about walking to the garage instead of texting dinner is ready. SO true.

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    1. The “garage” line was inspired by a memory I have two coworkers in offices side-by-side. Neither of them would get up and walk 10 steps to even say good morning to each other, it was all by text, I couldn’t believe it.

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  2. Yes! Love this. I love technology. What it allows is to do. How we can connect like never before. But it is taking over. I’m guilty of being tethered to it, too. A slave to its addictive pull. But I’m starting to put my foot down. I’m starting to dig my heels in and resist, if even just a little bit.

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  3. So eloquent! You chose the perfect words for each and every point. I love technology, but I’m beginning to be less and less of a fan. I am in a one-to-one school and am seeing the few manners kids used to have, become even fewer. I don’t have an answer. But walking out to the garage instead of texting is a great example for the technology lovers in the family.

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    1. I agree with you about the manners thing. There seems to be a Permission to be less courteous, sometimes even rude,that is granted by The invisibility of technological interaction. I think drawing attention to this fact and helping kids understand the responsibility they have to be polite and respectful regardless of the mode of communication is a skillthat can be revived.

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