The iPhone and and the overwhelming attention given to its introduction leads me to wonder: Are we becoming less human as we gravitate more and more toward gadgets...?
Is the cell phone better for humanity now that its multi-faceted features allow us to live within its fascination, removing us from the environment in which we live? And to what extent, if any, do these new technologies make us better at what we do?
They (I don't remember who they were) said the same thing about TV. And I think they may have been right. TV, cable TV, Satelite TV, TIVO, HDTV have inundated our lives and our children's lives. So have the gadgets (i.e., cyberspace tools), from desktop, to laptop, to ipod to iphone.
Granted, new technologies are good for commerce, for the economy and for continuing innovation and products to come. However, what does it all mean to human interaction and spending time among the trees and flowers? And does it matter? Can we continue to be creative, innovative, and forward-looking without losing our humaness. Do we have the inner strength to unplug and go live.
According to the Census Bureau, Americans spend nearly half their lives with TV, radio, the Internet and newspapers – often using more than one at a time.
In the US, adults and teens will spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) this year watching television, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices.
As for making our jobs easier or us better at them, here's my experience: I was the same writer with an IBM Selectric as I am today on my HP but word does make editing easier--score one for technology; no technology since e-mail has made me a better marketer nor have my clients benefitted to any great extent. The web is the web no matter the gadget we use to access it.
What has made be a better (re: more effective and more efficient) marketer are the people who create tools such as blogs and the software that allows me to edit my own web site. What I am talking about are external tools or what I refer to as gadgets. An iphone isn't going to get my clients better service: my Nokia works just fine. And my laptop is 9 years old. How is that a problem for my business or my clients? Finally, I don't own an iPod or an MP3, yet I still seem to get all my work done to excellent reviews from my clients, and I listen to music many hours a day, without anything sticking in my ears blocking out society's musings.
Look, my point isn't that new tools aren't interesting or pleasurable. But do we spend too much time waiting for the next best thing, then reading about it, then writing about it, then learning how to use it, then playing with it, and then beginning the cycle over again. What if we applied that time differently? What would we do with that time? Could we drag our children away from the tools and spend time with them? Or with friends and family? Or on client challenges? Or on marketing? We seem to agree that relationship building is the best way to grow a business. How are we building relationships when we are with these tools?
Tools are tools. It's the human using them that makes the difference, not the technology. At least, that's what my pea brain tells me. I could be wrong and often am. So tell me...
Is it a good thing that we seem to be spending so much time buying and using gadgets? Does doing so subtract from quality of life? For business? For leisure time? For humanity's sake? All the new gadgets leave me exhausted (and a bit scared and overwhelmed by their presence and what that presence may mean to us as humans).
I have to quit writing now, even though I could probably do a better job expressing my concerns. I have carpal tunnel in both hands, and my head hurts.
To conclude: Should we spend half our lives snuggling up with media instead of someone or something warm and loving? Am I the only one worried about this? Maybe I'm just an old fart living in the past.
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