Technology can result in some major conflicts. Blogging, for example. How much do I share? How much do I keep private? As I get (more experienced with life), I find that I am becoming a LOT more protective of my personal information and my privacy. Most companies assure protection of neither. It’s all about custom-marketing, targeting your ads to the consumer. While that may not actually bother me in terms of ads on a website and I may OCCASIONALLY even click on one out of mild curiosity, it severely bothers me in terms of the amount of SPAM I get. I’ve had to set my mail account to trusted senders only. So if I didn’t answer you, I didn’t get your email (sorry). Just let me know through some other means of communication.
Which brings me to another thing. I ditched land-line phone communications due to the volume of “charity” calls: 7 in one day was absurd. But I get cell phone SPAM too. And HOLY CRAP Verizon shoves apps down your throat! Do you know that you can’t get rid of Amazon MP3 even if you want to? Even if you NEVER use it and resent it running in the background all the damn time? Or Skype? Well, you can, but I really didn’t want to be that hardcore and root my phone… seriously? Just to keep it from running an app I didn’t want???
Oh, and Verizon’s backup assistant backs up your location data too by default. Just FYI.
And that’s part of the problem. Somebody else apparently knows best.
The only real choice is to actually become a Luddite. Good luck with that. I love modern conveniences—they VASTLY simplify my life. I love having GPS available if the interstate is mysteriously closed due to a disabled vehicle. I love having a web-enabled phone that allows me to find a product, or movie show times, or send quick emails or IMs to friends. Give that up? I don’t THINK so. But what am I willing to trade in terms of my privacy? My SAFETY (because really, if it’s ALWAYS tracking your location, that info can be compromised; NO network is 100% secure except a totally UNPLUGGED one)? My society????
Ahhh, the other part. So many skills are lost to us these days. My Uncle just gave me some “letters” I wrote to my grandparents when I was 5 years old. Ok, so I couldn’t spell back then and I wrote many letters backwards (like J). I’m sitting here blogging and looking at my quill and inks and sealing wax and thinking about things like books, ink, and paper. Letter-writing is so totally passé that the USPS is having to close still more offices. Even bill-paying can be done online faster and easier. (Is it just me, or is it LESS likely that your mail will reach its destination than it was 20 years ago?). Borders, the book-selling superstore, is bankrupt and out of business. While part of me rejoices (I vastly prefer my small local bookshop that has been there FOREVER and carries both new and used books), another part of me despairs. BOOKS? You mean compendiums of knowledge and entertainment whose format takes decades to centuries to become inaccessible to the general public? Reading a paper book is a delight to me. Yes, I have eBooks. And given that my bedroom overfloweth with the printed word, I can TOTALLY see the appeal of a paperless system: no shelves needed. No paper trees wasted. No distribution of solid goods (electrons are virtually free). Adjustable font size, so I can still enjoy the same book when I’m 80. Instant access, anytime, anywhere, to anything…
But again, AT WHAT COST? A significant fraction of incoming college freshmen either cannot write a coherent sentence or do not believe that it is important to do so. I’m the queen of sentence fragments, but I refuse to write a PAPER with txt spellings and grammar (and I have seen it). This is a system of abbreviation-in-common-usage, and it does have meaning, but it is NOT grammatically correct. I worry that we will lose skills that we spent decades, centuries, and millennia developing. Linguistic shift is common, expected, normal; but SRSLY, WTF makes anyone think someone saying “L-O-L” actually out-loud and vocally is kewl? MDRRRRRR….
And that’s not the worst. But it’s a start. I don’t understand Twitter, really; I don’t think I have thoughts or life events that are so interesting that someone actually wants to read real-time that I want to go indulge in primal scream therapy. Doesn’t everyone? It’s certainly not unique. I love being able to find out what my friends (the real ones I know in RL) have going on in their lives if it’s of import to them. Many live far enough away that I don’t see them regularly and didn’t have mailing addresses (physical or electronic, they both tend to change). I still think of them and care. Enough to try to track them down? Uh, hell-O, I’m not a stalker or anything!
Do I ditch technology and go back to pens, paper, and ink?
Do I embrace my inner geek and go back to Unix/Linux? (oohhhh, please, YESSSSS) If so, how hardcore? Command-line? Again, at what price? Functionality in my jobs?
I wonder sometimes just how many red flags some of my blog posts could produce. HAH. All zero of my readers will come visit me in jail though, right?