With apologizes to the Doors, I begin my final blog for EC&I 830. I will start out with my thoughts on last night’s debate about unplugging from technology. I have finished reading all the articles supplied by both sides and I feel as strongly now as I did at the end of the debate. I strongly side with the “Agree” side of the argument – I do believe we need to put down the devices and get back in touch with ourselves and with those people in our lives. I am not a complete Luddite as I do see the value in using apps like skype to keep in contact with far-flung friends and family but I think we are isolating ourselves from those people right beside us. My wife and I went out for supper recently and I observed a couple come into the restaurant and spend the entire time glued to their phones with nary a word between them (I couldn’t help notice them as they were sitting at the table next to ours). This was not an isolated incident. I’ve observed these same behaviours played out by people everywhere – both singly and in groups – and I find it very disturbing. I’ve witnessed young people driving by me on the road while they are completely absorbed in looking at their phones. I have a friend, who is an RPS member, and he refers to these self-absorbed people as “prey items”. They are simply not aware of their surroundings and will come to grief at some point by being preyed upon by those individuals who are aware. They become walking, texting Darwin Award recipients.
The argument for being continually connected was a non-starter for me. It lacked substance and the idea there is no difference between our on-line persona and our physical presence is ludicrous. The idea of technology making us more human, as advanced in the O’Reilly video, springs from a deeply flawed premise. It presupposes that we require technology to lead more complete, richer lives. Now, before the village breaks out the torches and pitchforks, just remember this is my personal opinion and my opinion is ‘this is horsehockey’.
Yes, I do have a cell phone (for texting with my family and for calling) and I have this laptop, as well an ipad I use for reading, but I don’t use social media apps because I don’t feel the need to share my rather boring life with a bunch of strangers – with exception of this rambling little blog. I use technology as a tool. I’ll admit it, but I prefer to sit somewhere like on my back deck, read a novel and drink coffee. There is so much more to life than constantly wondering what others are saying when you’re not there…
On a related note, I am kind of sad to end this class. I have reached the end of the road of my Master of Adult Education degree and it’s been a long, difficult, but rewarding 5 years for me. I have undergone significant personal transformation and I have been very fortunate to have learned from all of my instructors and fellow students along the way.