My laptop pings.
My tablet beeps.
My phone buzzes.
Today it actually rang – every now and again it likes to act like a telephone.
I plugged in my backup phone and now it’s telling me why it won’t work. You know, the previous phone owned that you keep stashed in a drawer somewhere in case (God forbid) your new smartypants phone gets dropped from a small height or some steam gets near it.
Right this second you can get me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Gmail, Outlook, Google+, Skype, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Messenger. If you were feeling particularly invasive you could text – or even call me.
At what point do I become more than ones and zeros, letters typed on a screen or vibrations travelling through a phone line? Where does the technological version of me (‘MissBethCan’ – my across-the-board handle) end and where do I (the human being) begin?
It’s pervasive. It’s amazing. It’s transformative. Is it too much?
It’s a question I get asked all the time, a regular grievance from luddites and troglodytes who resent the downfall spiral society has taken into the online domain – a first world complaint if ever I heard one.
But not an realistic one. Arguably one of the most innovative and intelligent men on the planet, Elon Musk has voiced his genuine concern that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most serious threat facing the human race (think: Skynet in Terminator 2 or Agent Smith in The Matrix). Don’t worry, we’re not there yet – current estimations suggest such tech is still around a century away from perfection and mass consumption, so you can rest easy for now.
But we do live in a digital age. Working in the digital industry I’ve come across all kinds of technologies that have the potential to *buzz word alert* disrupt or even break entire industries. Do you call a taxi or an Uber? Do you buy albums on disc or do you stream from Spotify? Do you develop your film roll or post pictures straight to Instagram?
You’re a part of the age – even if you don’t want to be. That doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to it. There are plenty of simple but surefire ways to make you feel more grounded and (ironically enough) more connected to yourself and the people around you if you try just a little bit everyday.
- Have a dinner where everyone is required to put their mobile in the centre of the table… first one to pick theirs up picks up the bill? #highstakes
- Sleep with your phone in a different room – bonus points if you can turn it off an hour before bed!
Before you take a photo or video stop for a second and check whether you’d rather be a voyeur of the moment or just ‘in’ it.
- Go visit your Grandma – she’ll love you for it and will be able to see you a lot better than she can see your text.
- For Advanced Users: Disconnect for an entire day, 24 full hours. Maybe tell someone first (your Mum or boyfriend at least, so no-one files a missing person’s report) and then turn it all off. Leave your phone at home, go get a massage, read a book, walk in nature, get jiggy with it – do a bunch of stuff that makes you feel good and most importantly DON’T tell everyone on social media about it. Save the pictures and feelings in your head (the most amazing storage device you’ll ever find).