Thursday, December 13, 2007

Confessions of a Luddite, or What's Up With These Doohickeys, Anyway?

Update: Who knew?! This was actually Assignment #7. Psychic, or simply timely? You decide!

A bit of a break in the Learning 2.0 for a bit of a personal confession, or at least a few things that have been rolling in my head the last few weeks as I approach the Embarkation Date of My New Career.

As you may have guessed from previous posts (and most likely will as I progress through the 23 Things), I'm not a massive fan of Internet-based technology. Don't get me wrong -- I think some technology is a wonderful thing; after all, e-mail and text messaging has most likely preserved several of my cherished friendships that may have drifted to the wind due to distance and time. I'm all for the democratization of information that the Internet offers, though the accuracy, bias and/or usefulness of much of it can be debated (this is why librarians are still indispensable in my mind -- but that's another post entirely). Certainly, Internet-based databases make my job much easier, as well as the lives of patrons who take the time to learn the basics of accessing them.


I feel there's too much clutter out there to really find the gems. What's useful and/or nifty one minute is (almost literally) outdated and declasse the next. Quite frankly, I can't keep up, nor do I want to expend the energy to do so. This goes beyond any claims to leisure foremost and, honestly, into pure frustration and anger as to why this is at all important.

Which leads me to my largest concern about everyone tap-tapping away at computers or tech-based instruments constantly. Have we lost our ability to be face-to-face social creatures? Are we sacrificing humanity and basic intercourse to the convenience of "talking" through isolation? It makes me sad that my e-mail box and text message spaces are full to the brim, but my phone rarely rings anymore. I dislike the feeling that making a phone call -- for business or social reasons -- feels like an intrusion these days. And heaven forfend anyone put away their cell phone and/or Blackberry when you do actually meet up in person!

When my husband and I were in my hometown over Thanksgiving, it was a sheer delight to be in a household where the phone rings several times a day with family, friends or neighbors checking in and/or making plans. My parents have and use e-mail, but usually check it only once or twice a day. When we were out and about, no one pulled out a cell phone during drinks or dinner. Best of all, I took a purposeful 10-day break from the computer and found -- golly! -- you can live without being permanently plugged in.

Beyond this, don't get me started on the destruction of the English language thanks to text-speak, forum posts and such. What started as "Wow -- e-mail is like sending old-fashioned letters again, only faster. How wonderful!" is turning into a communication (and civility) disaster of potentially epic proportions. And I say that as someone who believes English is a fluid, constantly evolving tongue!

I wonder what other folks think about these pros and cons. I wonder how these feelings will translate in my new career -- can I learn enough to be successful and/or will I be the one constantly asking, "Do we really need this, or is it for show?" I'm not sure of the answers and welcome any thoughts on these musings.

No comments: