Enough Technology?

August 4, 2007 at 3:04 am 2 comments

My husband came back from working at a local coffee shop the other day, a colorful, independent coffee shop in our sleepy beach town where my 80-year-old second cousin hangs out on weekday mornings with his tennis buddies and hipsters hang out on weekend nights.

He began to tell me about the scene on the particular weekday afternoon: Everyone under 50, he said, was on a laptop or iPod. Everyone older was actually talking. A group of senior men were playing chess together and laughing. The teenager at the next table sat alone playing chess on his iBook.

DH didn’t know what to make of the sociological study before him, except to say that the old guys looked happier. We’re one of the only couples we know with no iPod (the only??), I don’t know how to text message, we can’t figure out how to record on our VCR (yes, we still have one). We’re definitely “behind.” Not totally clueless, but definitely not up with the latest tech toys. (We just got Netflix — woohoo!)But, are we wanting because of this behind-ness? Quite the contrary, I think. While we may have less disposable income (and thus less toys) than more tech-savvy friends, I’d say we’re pretty content. We’d rather talk than text.

Is this old-fashioned thinking? Will we be hopeless dinosaurs to our daughter? I’m not sure. I don’t want her to have a cell phone or a MySpace page as a kid. Am I in denial? Or will the pendulum swing back to a more human contact time? Will she appreciate that in her home things move a bit slower, or wish for more?

I’m not anti-technology by any means. As a writer, I can’t imagine life without my iMac (and I obviously blog and have a web site), but I dodge any assignments that call for learning HTML, and my journal is still real pencil on real paper. I use the internet constantly, I have a cell phone, and see how these technologies connect people. I also see their pitfalls, and how they can isolate, like when I walk across a college campus today and see hoards of students on cell phones making no eye contact with actual people walking by them. And as the coffee shop scene struck my DH.

How much is “enough” technology? Is the fast pace of tech development pulling that same “never enough” trick on us, making us think we are less if we don’t have more? Are we incomplete without iPods, unconnected without texting? What’s your comfort level with technological progress, and what is “enough” technology for you?

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Diana  |  August 7, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    I’m with you, but I know from the opposite end of the spectrum. I find that I use email to distance myself from people, since I’m so shy, and that I shun my cell phone because I’m afraid to lose control of when people contact me. How sad is that? Technology has allowed me to take my shyness to a whole new level, which is definitely not a good thing for anyone (unless you count all the people that I’m SURE don’t want to be my friend and want to avoid me at all costs… sorry, I have issues.)

    Reply
  • 2. Melissa  |  August 7, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    But on the other hand, used deliberately, technology can help you connect. That’s one of the things I love about email and blogs and social media in general– even if I only have a few minutes at midnight, I can carry on a conversation. Well, a loosely-defined conversation, anyway– one where I check back for a response in the morning!

    I don’t collect technological toys for their own sake, though. And I do think there’s a real tendency toward consumerism rather than toward using what’s useful in technology. But that could be said of so many fields… fashion comes to mind, and kids’ “educational” toys, and, and…

    Reply

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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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