After reading Vicki Davis‘ post reflecting on how we need to use the right technologies at the right time and to use technology to bring us together, not ‘drive us apart,’ I found myself reflecting on my own life and use of technology. It is not uncommon for myself and my boyfriend to be sitting on opposite sides of our first floor (or even on the couches next to each other) on our computers, not talking. We have been teased by friends coming over about us both being on our MacBooks at the same time. I began to think….are we using the right technologies at the right times? Is it unhealthy for us to spend an hour in the same room without more than a few words passed between us while we interact with others on our computers?
Then I thought of Beth Still‘s tweet about her husband finally joining Twitter because he was sick of her sitting there on it for hours. My boyfriend and I both have Facebook accounts that we check almost daily. I received an event invite a few days ago from him through Facebook. It actually surprised me…did he invite me because it was easier to reach me through the computer or was I just part of a mass invite he sent out?
I communicate with others daily through the computer, but am I communicating daily with the loved one who lives under the same roof?
Is this where our society is heading? Is this an inevitable evolution of cultural practices and norms? Should we do something about this or accept it as part of the course of societies evolving over time? Were it something that we should just accept, does that mean we need to explicitly teach our students and our children the proper way to balance personal face to face relationships with online relationships?
My biggest fear is that I will become one of those people who sits in front of a computer all day and all night and never sees the light of day. Some of life’s best lessons and some of my fondest memories are of spontaneous adventures and experimenting with testing the limits of my comfort zone. However, I have learned so much from collaborating and interacting with people I’ve never met face to face. In fact, I wouldn’t have a Master’s degree right now were it not for online collaboration and interaction.
I guess we all have to strike a balance. Which is why, on this beautiful day, I’m heading out to a barbecue and a Storming of the Bastille celebration at Eastern State Penitentiary to watch people throw TastyKakes at a faux Marie Antoinette!
When I get home, I will not sit down and turn on my computer. I will not check TweetDeck on my phone. I will check in with my boyfriend and hear about his day and tell him to shut the computer so I can snuggle up next to him on the couch.