Wanting It All

Someday I’ll tell my grandchildren how it was once possible to call in sick for work just so you could  spend the day at the beach…and never worry the lie would be uncovered by a picture message, Twitter post or video clip on YouTube. In fairness, I’ll probably also feel compelled to explain that we had to go to the library to do research, wait for the mail to get important documents and have photos processed before we could view them.

Technology gives, but it can also take away.  Or maybe that’s just a function of how we use it. We get a new technology, so we throw out the old way.

Sometimes I wish technology was a supplement rather than a substitute. And if it were, here’s what I’d try to bring back:

  • Maps-GPS is convenient, but it doesn’t give you the same connection with geography or distance that you get from a map.
  • A Rolodex-There are multiple advantages to a Rolodex, including the fact that it’s just fun to say. Long before Outlook or Plaxio, phone numbers were filed in a Rolodex-a rotating wheel of index cards that offered endless amusement while you waited on hold (unable to move, since the phone was attached to a cord that tethered you to your desk).
  • Conversation-No matter how many friends you have a Facebook or LinkedIn, no matter how many text messages or emails you get each day, nothing can compare to a one-on-one conversation.


Filed under random, Technology, thoughts, work

4 responses to “Wanting It All

  1. While it isn’t exactly the same, a post I wrote earlier today relates somewhat to this. One of the points I attempted to make is that much of life is a tradeoff. We trade time and energy for money…or perhaps more time and energy for less time with the family. Your past reminds me that while technology offers speed and efficiency, we often trade warmth and a certain connectedness for it. Email and blogging keep me in touch with my three children, but I miss getting actual “hard copy” mail through the postal service. There’s just something special about the handwriting,the stamp, the process of opening the envelope….

  2. I’d have to agree with you on those three things, I prefer the paper map over GPS for exactly the reason you gave. Rolodex… don’t have one but I still keep all my addresses and phone numbers in a small 3 clip binder, I find that it’s just easier for me to access this stuff and write it down than to open Outlook, plus I know that except for a fire, my binder is safe. Conversation… I’d much rather be sitting in front of somebody to discus different matters over a beverage or meal than over chat or over the e-mail. I also feel you can make much more sound choices when you see the person eye to eye vs. over the Internet because you can take more variables into consideration: body language, etc. At the same time though I think communication over the Internet is great for people where in other situations people might be predisposed to making the opposite choice based on their lack of communication skills or other visual cues.

  3. tonehedge

    While you have a point in regards to the way things used to be done, sans modern “inconveniences”, the truth remains that whether you use a map or gadget with gps, tourists still ask the locals for directions when they get lost.
    Cellphones, smart phone, pda’s with large memory capacities can store more numbers and other information that the old Rolodex ever contained. But guys still “forget” to call her, after saving the poor woman’s phone number. Rolodex or not, what can I say, men are pigs.
    And as for conversations, as you get a certain age, there only remains a few people you’d want to speak to. Ex-spouses, that idiot that owes you money from 1996, the neighbor who lets her pets use your property as a toilet…There are plenty of opportunities for people to have good old “one on one” conversations. Its up to you if you want scream at the other person os cuss them silently under your breath.
    I say nothing much has changed, we just have more gadgets to chug around.

  4. I definitely agree with Fast Eddie. A decade of using a “Thomas Guide” map book as a journalist is a hard habit to break. For starters, my GPS gets a little “stupid” depending on the day. Additionally, it is nice to see the geography on a physical map.

    However, I must say that when I started my current job six months ago, I was shocked…and almost appalled…that this company still uses a Rolodex and PAPER Daytimer Calendars. (A practice I am slowly changing, thank you.) I’m a big fan of electronic address books. While I admit I’ve become very dependent on mine and can’t remember many phone numbers off the top of my head, I can’t stick a Rolodex into my pocket and carry everything with me.

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