Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Topics 2 and 3: Technology--Virtual/Reality. Cellphone Etiquette. ("Hang up and Drive" )

Technology makes life easier and harder.
It's wonderful to have a question, and then have it immediately answered by a three-second google search. Additionally, networking with such a vast array of people, all intricately hooked into web of information sharing.

But how does constantly being hooked up to technology affect the basic human experience? Ipods abound. Do people listen to the world less? Engage with others less? It is possible and lovely to do all of your socializing online. But there is a loss of actual touch. Is the art of personal connection becoming more obscured? E-mail is faster and easier than snail mail, and has great practical application for resumes, portfolios, buisness things, casual notes and updates to a friend. Less and less people have the experience of opening an envelope, unfolding a piece of paper that has physically travelled a great distance, handled with care, on and off of airplanes or trucks. There is something undeniably special about letters in the mail.

It is easy to become disconnected from the real world, easy to focus instead on virtual ones, which are becoming more involved, and approachable, and are populated with other like-minded people, who supply a minimum of human interaction. But it is, I think, appropriate to have a balance of both.


I feel that there is not enough cellphone ediquette in the world. It is a new invention, so there are no older formalities that follow along with it's use, like keeping a conversation in a private area, not in line at a grocery store, or on the bus, if it's personal, or unimportant, or chatty and drawn out. I also feel that it lends towards inconsistency in planning. If you do not have a cellphone, you must make more solid, reliable plans (ie: I will meet you outside of the store at 12:00) and actually follow through on them. If both parties have cellphones, it makes it easier to think that you'll just call if you're running late.

I recently saw a woman with the dilemma that she had locked both her keys and her cell phone in her vehicle, was a long way from home, and did not have any of her contacts' numbers memorized. Perhaps a heavy dependency on technology keeps people from being as self-reliant as they were in recent decades.

On a practical note, too, there is no reason at all to be speaking on your cellphone, or texting, while driving a moving vehicle, especially at high speeds. When driving, one should have a sharp focus in the physical present moment and surroundings. I personally have been involved in many near-accidents where the offending party was on a cellphone at the time. Some people, I think, are very good at multitasking, and can succesfully talk and drive. Others should answer phones only briefly, or not at all, as it can be a hazard to road safety.


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