Most of us are coming back from Memorial Day weekend, dragging our feet back in to work. Or maybe you’re the lucky one who was able to take an extra day or two so that you can really catch up on some rest and relaxation.
But how much of a vacation was it, really? Are you guilty of checking your smart phone for text messages and new emails while also taking a peek at any outlandish social media updates? Regardless of your ethnicity, gender, career or chosen profession most people in today’s 21st century technology-obsessed culture cannot live without their techy-vice. For most of us, our smart phone is our drug of choice. We’re addicted to our smart phones that do for us what we seemingly can no longer maintain for ourselves. Our smart phones bring us order, help us conduct research, provide ideas on where to eat, give directions when we’re lost, and connect us to the entire world with a click of a social media app.
Some high schools now even furnish all of their students with iPads, as tablets attach to keyboards to allow note taking in class. Our tablets are easier to tote around then our laptops yet are able to do nearly everything that our laptops can do. They are smaller, faster, have increased memory, and more capabilities — that’s what we are after in all of our technology now. We’re even pushing our hybrid vehicles to be designed more and more like one big computer on wheels. Just look at Google, which already has designed a vehicle that can drive itself.
So, a vacation from technology can be quite difficult if we all feel, well, naked without our smart phones tucked away in our purse or pocket.
Here’s a scenario: you are on vacation and out to dinner. You are waiting for your waiter and instead of talking to your friend or loved one you are busy checking the latest update that just alerted you via your smart phone. You say to yourself that you’re only going to quickly check your phone. But, then your BFF texts you. He/she sends a hilarious picture and you must respond immediately because it’s soooo funny. So, you send an animated emoticon and a “LMAO” topped with an inside joke that they’ll be sure to respond to.
Instead of enjoying the present and relishing in the real world, we wind up engrossed in a virtual world that we have embraced with the help of modern technology and the advent of social media. The award-winning movie for best original screenplay Her is not too far off from what most of us have succumbed to. Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) plays an isolated, loner who is a professional letter writer for consumers who have become too busy or distracted to write their own to loved ones, co-workers, customers, etc. Theodore is in the midst of divorcing his wife when he falls in love with Samantha, a computer operating system whose voice is played by Scarlett Johansson.
We really do have a relationship with our smart phones because all of our activities, notes, apps, contacts, and e-mail for the most part syncs up with our iPads and laptops. Computers of all shapes and sizes have become our chief connection to our personal and professional world. Landlines are practically obsolete; almost no one uses landlines anymore other than businesses. We carry our smartphones everywhere with us. Without them we feel completely lost.
Can you actually take 2-3 days to not answer your phone, check your e-mail and basically just say no to technology? How long can you realistically go without technology, without starting to have serious withdrawals? I recently went out of town to San Diego and I didn’t bring my laptop. I also forgot my phone charger. Yes, I did bring my iPad, but that’s it. The hotel I was staying at actually charged to use its in-room Wi-Fi, which I thought was pretty lame. So, I hardely used the tablet all weekend.
Nonetheless, doing without my cell phone, laptop and any Wi-Fi ended up being a blessing in disguise. For once, I wasn’t checking my e-mail or texting during dinner. I actually enjoyed every moment in the sun, people watched and found myself totally relaxed by having detoxed from technology. If you want to give yourself a true vacation, try doing without technology for one day and maybe even two. Finish any and all projects, tie up any loose ends and then make pertinent contacts aware, whether it be personal or professional, that you will be away from your phone or e-mail in advance.
This may be an easy task for some while much more difficult for those who are heavily tech reliant. The one thing you should keep in mind is that technology, while it has brought so much connectivity, brought together the world by transforming our way of communicating. Like what Theodore and Samantha concluded in Her: She was just an operating system and incapable of true personal connection. Maybe love is subjective enough to count their love as real. But, ultimately Samantha wasn’t human and couldn’t apprehend real human experiences.
Our technology at least connects us to social media where the contacts and connections we have are at least real humans. But, that “friendship” is at best superficial and can never run as deep as those connections we forge with people in real life, those who we interact with daily and in person.
Rather than checking your social media accounts, texting all-day and e-mailing try actually enjoying one full day being totally present. Trust me, your e-mail, Twitter account, Facebook, Instagram and any other social media accounts aren’t going to suffer because you didn’t update your whereabouts for a couple of days. And people in your life blowing up your cell phone with text messages can wait for a day, especially if these texts are random and not at all an emergency.
Seriously, your technology is not going anywhere. Your time on the other hand, and the time you share with those you love, can never be replaced.
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This entry was posted in Culture & Tech and tagged Distraction and Technology, Her, Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Smart Phones, Smart Phones Affecting Relationships, Smart Phones Affecting Society, Social Media, Stop Texting, Taking a Technology Break, Technology Detox, Techology, Texting.