One of the banes of our present times is the way digital technology has taken over our personal and professional lives. Over the last quarter century, no industry has seen more dramatic change and has had a bigger impact on consumers and businesses than technology.
This change has been nothing short of dramatic. Personal digital technology which was once an add-on to the lives of people and the operations of companies, has today taken centre stage in most people’s lives. Almost everyone we know, is just a few clicks away. And yet, isn’t it an irony that in this day and age when the demands of being constantly connected are relentless, technology is most often blamed for curbing human contact? Not surprising really especially when we see how technology has come to rule over our lives, much to our detriment.
If you’re traveling, as I recently did, you never fail to notice how people carry their gadgets at all times. There are families with every member hooked on smartphones, silently nodding away, their eyes transfixed on the digital screens. At a time when one should be spending time with each other, people are working on their devices. So ironical that one should leave the confines of one’s workplace only to end up working, even on the go, because work is always a click or a swipe away. One is always in contact with the office—in multiple ways, on multiple devices. Even at 39,000 feet. I sometimes wonder why people bother to take a break at all?
Until some months back, I used to find myself stopping to check my phone countless number of times, thanks to the endless notifications bombarding me throughout the day and night. There was something about those notifications that compelled me to be active online, almost as if I was duty bound to answer people as soon as they had posed a question or commented even. The downside of all this was that it ate into my general productivity through the day.
My reluctance to join the many whatsapp groups was mostly due to my dislike for this constant invasion into my personal space and time. Initially, I resisted the constant pressure from various social groups persistently requesting me to join the brigade. I did, on the insistence of my school reunion group. Only to regret later. A few days into it and I felt it wasn’t my thing. The idea of constantly commenting, chatting and forwarding silly jokes did not appeal to me at all. I won’t say I’ve given up entirely on it, but I do use it with specific people as a one-on-one communication, more like messaging rather than for group interactions. At my own pace and time.
Having opted out of most groups, I’m much happier now. I also found it irritating to be constantly bombarded by social media notifications on my phone, and am much better off now that they are all switched off, which gives me that much extra time to focus on the most important tasks of the day. Allocating specific times in the day for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, helps ensure that I do stay connected but without my personal space and family time being compromised in any way. The cost of being online 24/7 and constantly participating online around the clock is definitely not for me. If that makes me a social media bore, I’ll happily accept being one! To be honest, I’ve reached a point in life when it does not really matter to me what people think of me. It’s that simple.
Now that you know a lot more about me, I’d love to know a little more about you too. How connected are you with digital technology as a person? Do you reach for your phone or laptop as soon as you wake up first thing in the morning? Is your idea of relaxation all about reading a paperback book with actual pages or would you rather check on social media so as not to miss the most important discussions of the day?
I’d love to hear what you think of all this. Please do leave your thoughts and views in the comments below.