From our cell phones that store the phone numbers and plans that we do not memorize anymore to our refrigerators being able to tell us what groceries we need to replenish, there is an overflow of conveniences and leisure-based tools that have become intertwined into our everyday lives. We truly do not even realize how much it helps, hinders and influences how we communicate with everyone. Technology has become completely ingrained in everything we do. We have definitely come dependent on it to a fault. While it has made our lives seemingly easier, it has also made them equally complicated.
That annoying older cousin who always has an opinion about you, with whom you only had to interact with once or twice a year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, now wants to FaceTime randomly throughout week, because they’re feeling guilty about not being more open and present. On the other hand, the new person you met at a supposedly “socially distant” NYE party, who you thought you had a connection with, has yet to text you back and they’re obviously young enough to know how to use pretty much any device, right? Finally, you have your friends that you can start a conversation with on Monday and pick it back up in a week or a month from now because life is just busy and there aren’t any hard feelings. This is all a big thank you to technology.
In light of 2020’s pandemic, the world used technology and successfully demonstrated how creative or how un-creative anyone can be when it comes to absolutely anything. Zoom became the home for after-work happy hours (along with the peer-pressure to show up because since we’re all not supposed to leave the house, we’re automatically free to socialize with people we’ve had to work with all day LOL), baby showers, birthday parties, board meetings, school, holiday gatherings and anything in-between. It illuminated that the traditional 8-hour workday does not need to be 8 hours, nor do people need to show up in person to boost productivity or exceed goals for each quarter. It pushed the boundaries of who we would now have to allow into our personal spaces on a consistent basis and how we truly utilize our time.
I won’t go too deep down the rabbit hole of social media, because we ALL gave Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the newly introduced, Clubhouse a lot more of our time because getting dressed to sit on the couch and actually cook dinner got old pretty quickly.
Overall, technology is a blessing based on whoever or whatever you pray too, but there are also the very blatant downsides of people filming everything with the cameras on their phones, people fifty-plus years old sharing their unfettered POVs on politics, age old misogyny and selfies with sickly friends or family in the hospital on Facebook. Not to mention revenge porn because technology made it super easy to intentionally and unintentionally share our very intimate photos of ourselves with anyone across devices. We willfully share and blindly give away so much information through our messages or accepting terms and conditions across platforms, that our personal FBI agents probably get a raise every time our individual files go up a terabyte (I’m joking, but am I?).
There’s a delicate balance on the healthiest way to use technology; however, while it may bring out creativity or confidence sitting behind a screen, it equally creates a space for easily crossed boundaries in everyone’s lives—family, friends, partners and work. If you do not respond to someone in a timely manner, something must be wrong because “everyone has a phone”. Not to mention people getting caught flirting with because they sent the wrong emoji or they’re perusing a new risqué app meant for singles, because it is so easy to hit “get” in the app store. People are bored more-so now than ever, and the internet allows you to not only see what everyone else seems to be doing, but also their timeline (woo, double entendre!). Now, at some point I’ve definitely shared something on the internet that was unnecessary, as has probably everyone else. There’s ultimately no way to stop the acceleration. New tech drops every day and a lot of it has most likely been around; the general population, just hasn’t had access to it because the powers-that-be are having to master it first.
The convenience of technology is mind-blowing, but we should still practice how to maneuver life without it because, “The Lord giveth & the Lord taketh away”. We need internet and power to utilize pretty much everything we’ve gotten used to; on the contrary, anything can happen. If 2020 didn’t show us anything, it thoroughly illustrated how quickly life can change.
I understand that “everyone’s doing it” but as quickly and gracefully as technology came in on its white horse, there is inevitably a ceiling on the perpetual “freedom” it’s associated with. I guess all I’m trying to say is get a VPN, cover your cameras on your devices, and get out of the house sometime (when it is socially safe again.)
Happy New Year!