Wired in America


Lots of people have written about the pervasiveness of technology in our world. We are hooked up and linked in almost every minute of our day. We all know we should let go, but actually doing so has become a newsworthy event in our time.

I recently bought a second phone for a back up. It’s an inexpensive pre-paid phone, but it gives me some slight assurance that if my primary phone goes down, I can still reach out if I need to. The part that is amazing even to me is how frequently I check the second phone for messages. I check it almost as often as I check my primary. Please note: I have given NO ONE that number. Who do I think will be calling or texting?

Why do we feel the need to be constantly connected? I know I am not the only person who takes her phone with her in the bathroom. Never mind that I have no interest in sharing bathroom noises with whoever may call, but I might have a few seconds of boredom if I don’t have it with me. Would everyone who checks email and Facebook while in the john please raise their hand?

I remember the days when our technology was much simpler. Televisions were in almost every home when I was growing up, but they were limited to the 3 or 4 local channels and may or may not have had color viewing. Everyone had a phone, but they were frequently rotary dialed and most people had only one phone. I remember leaving the house for most of the day and having no means of connecting with anyone other than face to face. As I got older and started dating my mother always checked to make sure I had a dime so I could use a pay phone to call home if I needed to. I don’t remember ever needing to.

Were we friendlier in those days? I don’t know. It’s hard not to look back through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. I think people had a greater tendency to interact with strangers when out and about. No one had a piece of technology in their hands to isolate them from the people surrounding them. I also think it was easier to lose touch with people. If you didn’t write letters you lost touch. If a friend moved and forgot to give you their new number you lost touch. Despite all the criticism of social media and our constant need to be connected, I think we do a much better job of staying connected with old friends. I know I’ve personally gotten re-connected with a large number of friends from earlier in my life. It’s kind of nice to be communicating once again with people who share a common history.

The hard truth is, no matter how much we discuss the invasiveness of technology in our lives, it isn’t going anywhere. While you can resolve to go without for any period of time, (which I don’t think is a bad idea,) at the end of the day or week, it’s still there. We need to learn to make peace with it and we also need to learn how to take advantage of the benefits it offers without being controlled by it. I know this is a huge challenge for me. I love the idea of putting my phone aside or turning it off when I’m out with friends or family. That simple gesture has allowed me to focus more on the conversation at hand and increased my ability to simply live in the moment. What are you doing to disconnect? I’d love to hear your comments.


What are your thoughts?