Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I sent 2 tweets and answered three emails before I rolled out of bed this morning...before the alarm even went off, actually.  Squinting my eyes from the glare of the iPad, I continued scrolling through my timeline...and ran across this Wall Street Journal Article.  Just a few days ago, I'd read another interesting article about cyberspace (when you're dead) in the New York Times (both of which I believe were tweeted by the ever-wonderful @nikiblack).

I spend a lot of time online.  For work and for fun, but especially when I'm playing poker.  While playing, I generally have twitter up in the background, music playing through iTunes, an iPad for email, and my BlackBerry for calls.  I generally don't have the TV on, but...sometimes I do.  That is a lot of distraction and a lot of multi-tasking (which, of course, is detrimental to playing solid poker).  And when I'm not in front of a computer, I'm never without access because I'm never without my BlackBerry. 

While in Germany for 16 days, we had very little access to the internet and because I was unsure of the roaming costs, I completely shut down my BlackBerry. In addition to all the sights I was able to see while there, I read four books, played a bunch of charades, enjoyed a great family viewing of The Sound of Music, and just generally reconnected with reality and the truly meaningful loves in my life.

I find myself questioning technology and these articles that recommend "detoxing" or/and logging off.  On one hand, I recognize the all-consuming time suck that such technology can be.  I can spend an hour going off on a Google search tangent or playing on YouTube.  And Lord knows I know how much of an effort (read - time waste) it can be to create an award winning State video (I Haz Chips, anyone?). 

On the other hand, this technology is a part of our lives.  It's not going anywhere.  Indeed, 8% of internet users are Twitter users; and, as intimated in this Pew report, Twitter usage has risen 18% between 2008 through 2010.  I guarantee that number will rise in the coming years.  (For me, twitter is where I spend the vast majority of my online time.  While I have a FB account, I very rarely post things on it and very rarely use it to keep up with friends - I do that in "real" life...and via twitter - ack!)

I certainly understand the need to stay grounded in reality by logging off and going tech-free.  At the same time, this technology IS reality in that it is and has become a part of our every day lives.  While one could log-off and go all luddite, the fact remains that, for most of us (at least everyone I know), technology is necessary.  Sure, you could send snail mail letters and/or conduct business solely in person or on a rotary dial telephone...but, who would your clients be?  And how would you get them?  And what exactly would your business be?

Do you see my point? 

And every technology we have now will either be obsolete or completely different for our children. I can't even begin to imagine what things will look like twenty years from now.

I guess my issue is the feeling that "logging-off" or "detoxing" from technology kind of misses the point.  It's kind of like drugs or alcohol...if you have to "detox" from it, then that implies there's a problem or that you're using it wrong.  Like alcohol (and drugs), all this technology is not going anywhere.  Since that's the case, rather than eschewing what is reality, find the middle ground for you.

There's always something to work on, isn't there?  Then again, maybe I'm just an addict.  What do you think (rhetorical question - what do you think about technology, detoxing, etc.  As always, I'm interested in your thoughts)?  Don't answer that, Mom.



  1. My fiancée and I were talking about this just the other day. We have been together for 8 years and have been on Facebook since then. We were talking about how people post every facet of their life on FB or Twitter. Like it or not social media and technology has become a mainstay in our society. It's good to take time to unplug but the amount of things we can do with technology is amazing as well. Great post as always and very thought provoking!

  2. I am addicted as well, but my life as a writer requires some of it, and my desire to stay involved with friends and acquaintances (and news) requires it as well. Excuses? Maybe. But I like it. When I was in France for three weeks in October, I shut down my Blackberry, too, though I had my laptop and checked in frequently. But I felt very out of the loop, as if I was estranged from my friends and unable to show support, offer kind words, or comment on random news as it came down the wire. The partial detox was restful, though. I was torn.

    Basically, I think everyone sets their own happy medium. When I find that technology takes too much of my time, I log off and spend a few hours elsewhere. It's personal preference, and mine is to stay connected as much as possible.

  3. Wow, Jack. 8 years? Pull the trigger already. But I digress (sorry for the hijack, PL). I took the facebook app off my phone which was not a big deal since I mostly tweet. The best thing I ever did was take my work email off my phone back in October. If my clients want me, they can call. Best stress-reduction move ever!

  4. Haha, I've done this too. If it weren't for the fact that I like to discuss strategies and stuff so much I wouldn't have an email, a cell phone or anything... I probably would just be stargazing, but even there I have a website that talks about that...hmmm...

  5. Technology is so much in our lives like you said. What did we do back in the 70's as teenagers? That was without technology. We hung out a lot at someones home. Now days you can hang out in your own home and text. Sometimes I think we produce loners more than socializing.

  6. Steve - I climbed trees, played in the pasture, read books, actually played with friends, all that good stuff. I try to make sure that my daughter is understanding all this technology but not getting too caught up in it. Monkey see, monkey do, though, so I've definitely got to watch what I'm modeling for her!! Eeek...


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