The topic for today’s post was inspired by a conversation I had with a colleague this afternoon. Tomorrow is a public holiday here as Australians and New Zealanders celebrate ANZAC Day. On this day we commemorate all those who have served and are serving in our armed forces and support services. Falling on a Thursday, many people have taken Friday as a holiday making it a four day weekend. Conversing with my colleague she mentioned her plans for Friday to relax and indicated she would probably log on and check in to work that day.
I’m not sure how checking work emails is relaxing, but I suppose there are stranger ways to relax. Some people clean and cook for example. Who am I to judge?
The advent of Smartphones and other mobile devices have meant that we are constantly plugged in. We are getting to the stage where the priciest piece of real estate at any airport will soon be the five metre square radius around the charging pole.
Earlier on in the Challenge I gave myself permission to be curious and I wrote how I had returned to postgraduate studies at university. Talk about falling down the technological rabbit hole. Technology has made a huge difference to study practices. Free WIFI and charging outlets everywhere! Need to look up a website the lecturer is referring to in real time? No problem and to someone of my young years, that’s amazing!
So, I’m sitting in the lecture theatre looking around observing the sweet young Gen Y things and how they interact with technology. Sometimes the only way an old dog can learn a new trick is to scout. This is what I have learned so far:
- it is possible to complete a university degree by never taking a hand written note. PEN: noun, definition: a prehistoric writing implement filled with ink, that can be converted to a pea shooter or juggling device when owner suffers a chronic case of boredom.
- the lecturer actually announced at the start of the lecture series that students should take notes as the assessment will be based on writing and note taking builds skills in that area. Writing is THAT novel, is it?!?
- there is a considerable proportion of the Gen Y student body in that lecture that NEVER look up from their screens. Not once, the whole lecture. I wonder if the lecturer ever notices. Must be some real entertaining stuff on Facebook or maybe the web cam is getting a great work out. Or they could be reading the assigned material after all, these guys REALLY know who to multi-task.
No doubt about it, technology has revolutionised education, social interactions, news distribution, communication and a whole lot of other things too. Everything at your fingertips only a few clicks away.
But does this mean we have to stay plugged in all the time?
Work emails on the weekends and after hours when I don’t have to be “on”. Not even tempted. Weekends and after hours are for family, regeneration and reorienting our perspectives so that we can perform again the following week. Weekends are for reading the weekend papers, breathing fresh air and getting stuff done.
Social media, blogging and surfing the net, yes daily first thing in the morning and last thing at night. But if I don’t check in, that’s OK too. Recently, I removed the Facebook App off my phone and it has been a really positive move. There’s only so many cat pictures and pictures of doctors who will operate when they hit 10,000 likes one can handle. I don’t feel I’m missing out by not checking Facebook ten times a day.
Being involved in a face to face conversation and hearing the mobile phone ring? I never pick up. Having made the effort to get together we each deserve the other’s full attention. The biggest compliment you can pay someone in this day and age is to give them your FULL attention.
Technology is a fantastic supplement to real life. The world is amazing and technology provides a window to it.
However, at the end of the day it is a tool. It is not a real life substitute.
The Gen Y and Gen Z gods and goddesses will no doubt heap a load of thunderbolts at my head for that sacrilege.
Do you struggle with technology usage? How to you see technology fitting in to your life?
Today I give myself permission to unplug.